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This article was published 23/6/2012 (1829 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It’s official: the Vijay Iyer Trio was the best jazz act at this year’s festival.
Pianist Iyer, bassist Stefan Crump and drummer Tyshawn Sorey are one tight trio, especially considering that Sorey was subbing for regular drummer Marcus Gilmore.
The first of their two shows Saturday night at the Park Theatre was brilliant; a mix of Iyer originals, material by lesser-known jazz musicians and a hugely successful pop tune.
It was that pop tune, Human Nature from Michael Jackson’s monumentally popular Thriller album, that elicited the most applause from a nearly full house in the 200-seat theatre; an audience that was with Iyer from opening notes of Lude, a composition from the trio’s new recording, Accelerando.
Iyer’s playing bristles with energy and imagination, whether on a tune like Human Nature; on Henry Threadgill’s Little Pocket Size Demons; on Hood, a piece he wrote for Detroit pioneering electronic musician Robert Hood; or his own compositions like Accelerando and Cardio.
Even his accompaniment to solos by Crump and Sorey is interesting, capturing audience attention and not just the rudimentary playing of chords.
Threadgill’s Demons followed Human Nature and was a real change-up, taking the music out of any safety zone, but the receptive, appreciative audience ate it up. It seemed Iyer and his trio mates could do no wrong on the last night of the TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival’s 10-day annual series of free outdoor entertainment, theatre concerts and club shows at various venues.
Vijay Iyer Trio
TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival
4 ½ stars out of 5