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Four New Releases From ECM Records: Vijay Iyer Sextet, Tim Berne's Snakeoil, Gary Peacock Trio, and David Virelles

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August 25

Vijay Iyer Sextet
Far From Over

Vijay Iyer: piano, fender rhodes; Graham Haynes: cornet, flugelhorn, electronics Steve Lehman: alto saxophone; Mark Shim: tenor saxophone; Stephan Crump: double bass Tyshawn Sorey: drums

Keyboardist-composer Vijay Iyer’s energized sequence of ECM releases has garnered copious international praise. Yet his fifth for the label since 2014—Far From Over, featuring his dynamically commanding sextet—finds Iyer reaching a new peak, furthering an artistry that led The Guardian to call him “one of the world’s most inventive new-generation jazz pianists” and The New Yorker to describe him as “extravagantly gifted… brilliantly eclectic.” Far From Over features a sextet of virtuoso improvisers—with horn players Graham Haynes, Steve Lehman and Mark Shim alongside rhythm partners Stephan Crump and Tyshawn Sorey—leveraging a wealth of jazz history even as it pushes boldly forward. The music ranges from the thrillingly explosive (“Down to the Wire,” “Good on the Ground”) to the cathartically elegiac (“For Amiri Baraka,” “Threnody”), with melodic hooks, entrancing atmosphere, rhythmic muscle and an elemental spirit all part of the allure. “This group has a lot of fire in it, but also a lot of earth, because the tones are so deep, the timbres and textures,” Iyer says. “There’s also air and water—the music moves.”

September 8

Tim Berne’s Snakeoil
Incidentals

Tim Berne: alto saxophone; Oscar Noriega: clarinet, bass clarinet; Ryan Ferreira: guitars; Matt Mitchell: piano; Ches Smith: drums, vibraphone, percussion, timpani with David Torn: guitar

Tim Berne has been described as “a saxophonist and composer of granite conviction” by The New York Times. Incidentals is the fourth album from his spirited Snakeoil band and the second (following on from 2015’s You’ve Been Watching Me) to feature the quintet line-up in which his core group with clarinetist Oscar Noriega, pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer/vibraphonist Ches Smith is augmented by guitarist Ryan Ferreira. The music is characteristically action-packed in the Berne tradition: powerful, dynamic, often fast-moving—yet also very clear in all its teeming detail. “We somehow achieved more sonic space by adding another player,” the bandleader notes wonderingly. It’s an impression maintained even when producer David Torn takes up his own guitar in a cameo at the climax of the modestly-titled “Sideshow” (in reality a 26-minute epic journey), soloing amid thunderous timpani and over serpentine melody outlined by sax and clarinet. Incidentals is issued as Snakeoil gear up for a tour of North America through September and October, followed by European dates in November.

Gary Peacock Trio
Tangents

Marc Copland: piano; Gary Peacock: double bass; Joey Baron: drums Some of Gary Peacock’s finest music has been made in piano trios. Early in his musical life, Peacock established a fresh role for the bass as an independent melodic voice, a concept carried forward in the history-making groups he’s played with—from Paul Bley’s and Bill Evans’s trios to Keith Jarrett’s. As a bandleader he has also been influential: Tangents is the second release from the great bassist’s trio with Marc Copland and Joey Baron and draws on years of shared playing in diverse contexts. All three band members contribute compositions, Peacock’s including “December Greenwings”, revisiting a piece Gary introduced on his ECM recording December Poems. Repertoire includes five tunes from Peacock, two from Baron, one from Copland, and an outstanding group improvisation, “Empty Forest”. The trio also plays Miles Davis’s “Blue In Green” and, perhaps surprisingly, Alex North’s theme for the film Spartacus, which also proves a fine vehicle for improvising. Tangents was recorded in Lugano in May 2016, and produced by Manfred Eicher.

September 15

David Virelles
Gnosis

David Virelles: piano, marímbula, vocals; Roman Diaz: lead vocals and percussion (bonkó enchemiyá, ekón, nkomos, erikundi, itones, nkaniká, marímbula, claves, mayohuacán, pilón, carapacho de jicotea, coconut shells); Allison Loggins-Hull: piccolo, flute; Rane Moore: clarinet, bass clarinet; Adam Cruz: steel pan, claves; Alex Lipowski: orchestral bass drum, temple blocks, bongos, gong; Matthew Gold: marimba, glockenspiel; Mauricio Herrera: ekón, nkomos, erikundi, claves; Thomas Morgan: double bass; Yunior Lopez: viola; Christine Chen: violoncello; Samuel DeCaprio: violoncello; Melvis Santa, Mauricio Herrera: vocals In this vivid and exciting project, the Santiago-raised and New York-based pianist-composer David Virelles looks towards one melting pot from the vantage point of another. A far-reaching work with deep cultural roots, Gnosis speaks of transculturation and traditions, and of the complex tapestry of Cuba’s music—the sacred, the secular, and the ritualistic—but the work’s shapes and forms could only have been created by a gifted contemporary player thoroughly versed in the art of the improvisers. Strings, woodwinds and percussion all have their roles to play in Gnosis, viewed by Virelles as “several families functioning within one unit: this dynamic symbolizes multicultural interaction.” Virelles’ responsive piano and the vocals and percussion of Román Díaz, a profound figure in the transmission of Afro-Cuban musical history, are at the center of the action. Gnosis was recorded at New York’s Avatar Studios in May 2016 and produced by Manfred Eicher.

This story appears courtesy of Universal Music Group.
Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved.

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