Vijay Iyer Quartet at the Jazz Standard

Award-winning pianist-composer Vijay Iyer brings his group to New York's premiere jazz club, The Jazz Standard, for four nights this summer: Thursday, July 31 through Sunday, August 3. These performances celebrate his widely praised new CD Tragicomic, released in April on Sunnyside Records.

He is joined by his longstanding trio/quartet, featured on “Tragicomic" and on 2005's remarkably acclaimed “Reimagining": 21-year-old drumming prodigy Marcus Gilmore, Memphis-bred bassist Stephan Crump, and Iyer's longtime collaborator Rudresh Mahanthappa on alto saxophone.

The new disc features ten Iyer originals for quartet and piano trio formats, and two surprising covers: a rhythmically charged dub version of Bud Powell's “Comin' Up" and a solo piano rendition of the standard “I'm All Smiles." Iyer writes in the CD's liner notes, “Cornel West decodes the blues aesthetic as a tragicomic sensibility stemming from a sustained encounter with arguably history's greatest, cruelest absurdity - the kind in which 'even ultimate purpose and objective order are called into question'... In our perilous moment of global transition, we have everything to learn from this sensibility. A tragicomic outlook can ease our pains of metamorphosis and help us dream the next phase into being. That's how and why this music was made."

Voted #1 Rising Star Jazz Artist and #1 Rising Star Composer by the Downbeat International Critics Poll for both 2006 and 2007, VIJAY IYER was described in The Village Voice as “the most commanding pianist and composer to emerge in recent years" and in The New Yorker as one of “today's most important pianists." The American-born son of Indian immigrants, he has released twelve recordings, including Tragicomic (2008) with his trio and quartet; Door (2008) with the collective trio Fieldwork; Still Life with Commentator (2007), his second large-scale work with poet-performer Mike Ladd, commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music; and Raw Materials (2006) in duo with saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa. His albums have appeared on best-of-the-year lists in major publications ranging from JazzTimes, Jazzwise and Downbeat, and The Wire to ArtForum, The Utne Reader, The Chicago Tribune, The New Yorker, and The Village Voice. He appears on the cover of Downbeat magazine's July 2008 issue, with fellow pianist-composers Jason Moran and Matthew Shipp.

Vijay performs constantly with his ensembles and collaborations at major festivals and concert venues around the world. He has also joined forces with a wide range of pioneering artists including Steve Coleman, Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Amiri Baraka, Amina Claudine Myers, Butch Morris, Ethel, Imani Winds, dead prez, Karsh Kale, George Lewis, DJ Spooky, John Zorn, Will Power, and Dennis Russell Davies. His numerous honors include the prestigious CalArts Alpert Award in the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and the JJA Jazz Awards' Up & Coming Artist of the Year award; new works commissioned by American Composers Orchestra, the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Asia Society, and Brooklyn Academy of Music; and project grants from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, the New York State Council on the Arts, Chamber Music America, Creative Capital, American Composers Forum, Meet the Composer, Arts International, and The Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust. He is a faculty member at New York University, New School University, and the School for Improvisational Music, and has published scholarly articles in Music Perception, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Current Musicology, Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies, and Sound Unbound. He is a Steinway artist.

Guggenheim fellow RUDRESH MAHANTHAPPA is one of the most innovative young musicians and composers in jazz today. Named a Rising Star of the alto saxophone by the Downbeat International Critics Poll for the past four years, Rudresh has incorporated the culture of his Indian ancestry and has fused myriad influences to create a truly groundbreaking artistic vision. As a performer, he leads/co-leads seven groups to critical acclaim. His most recent release for Pi Recordings, Codebook (2006) was named one of the Top Jazz Albums of 2006 by The Village Voice, Jazztimes, and The Denver Post and received rave reviews from Downbeat, Jazztimes, and Science Magazine. As a saxophonist, Mahanthappa has achieved international recognition performing regularly at festivals and clubs worldwide. He has also worked as a sideman with such luminaries as David Murray, Jack DeJohnette, Samir Chatterjee, Elliot Sharp, Von Freeman, Tim Hagans, Fareed Haque, Vijay Iyer, Howard Levy, David Liebman, Greg Osby, and Dr. Lonnie Smith. As a composer, Rudresh has received commission grants from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, American Composers Forum, Chamber Music America, and the New York State Council on the Arts to develop new work. Mahanthappa holds a Bachelors of Music Degree from Berklee College of Music and a Masters of Music degree from Chicago's DePaul University. He currently lives in New York and teaches at The New School University. Rudresh uses Vandoren reeds exclusively.

STEPHAN CRUMP is a Memphis-bred bassist/composer whose music can be heard on his three acclaimed albums and in numerous films and television shows. His latest CD, Rosetta, “an intensely lyrical work" (Jazzwise, UK ) made numerous top ten lists for 2006 and was lauded for the “unassuming honesty" ( and “persistent creativity" (Bagatellen) which have helped establish Crump as “an impressive and original voice" (The Wire, UK) as both composer and performer. He has performed and recorded in the US and across the globe with a diverse list of artists -- from late blues legend Johnny Clyde Copeland to Portishead's Dave McDonald, contemporary folk artist Lucy Kaplansky, The Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano, Big Ass Truck, Dave Liebman, Sonny Fortune, Eddie Henderson, The Mahavishnu Project and Bobby Previte, among others. In addition to his association with Vijay Iyer since 1999, Stephan is currently a member of guitarist Liberty Ellman's quartet, Joel Harrison's “Harbor" and singer/songwriter Jen Chapin's band.

MARCUS GILMORE (born 1986) was inspired by the music of his grandfather, legendary jazz drummer Roy Haynes, who gave him his first set of drums at age 10. He took naturally to jazz as well as classical theory and percussion. He has performed around the world with some of today's best known jazz artists, including Chick Corea, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Natalie Cole, Clark Terry, Cassandra Wilson, Steve Coleman, Ravi Coltrane, Dave Douglas, Nicholas Payton, Christian Scott, Najee and many others. Gilmore joined Vijay Iyer's group in 2003, at the age of 16. He also leads his own ensemble, and recently debuted a commissioned suite of his music, titled “American Perspicacity."

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