Vijay Iyer Trio with Robert Pinsky at Sanders Theatre
The first set is with just Pinsky and Iyer, occasionally augmented by some sounds off Iyer's laptop. With the electronics (swirly sounds and beats), the effect is more like Robert Ashley that beatnik coffeehouse, for the better obviously. Poet and pianist work well as a duo, weaving in and out of each other's sonic and rhythmic spaces. Pinksy departs and the rest of the trio arrives. The do like their odd-meter, asymetric vamps and rhapsodic crescendos a little too much, but are never less than interesting. The highlight comes when a “event” as Iyer called it, entitled Hood emerges out of Henry Threadgill's tune Little Pocket-Sized Demons. Patterns between the piano and drums expand and contract until they curl up in a tense little ball and gradually unwind themselves. The drummer Marcus Gilmore, 26-year-old grandson of the great Roy Haynes, is a master colorist, dissecting patterns within patters, using a very dry and tight sounding kit always in service to the groove or the tune, avoiding the temptation to erupt in to a self-aggrandizing flourish in order to drive the music into a deeper place. I look forward to following his career. Pinsky rejoined the trio to recite one more poem, about American history vis-a-vis the history of the saxophone, over what I believe was a trio improvisation, all four men weaving their respective parts into some very vibrant music.
The Will to Fail by Katie Lee from Songs of Couch and Consultation
This number from a ersatz song-cycle based on psychological themes makes self defeating personality disorder sound like fun.
Sixteen Blue by the Replacements from Let it Be
One of those songs I really shouldn't still be relating to at my age, but alas...