2012 IN PIANO TRIOS
Vijay Iyer Trio
Those seeking erudite takes on this wonderful music should read Nate Chinen's Times review, which nicely covers Iyer's background and musical concerns. The rhythmic achievement is most blatant -- this trio does stuff rhythmically I can't begin to wrap my head around, and that's often what I look for in music, you know? What can I not do myself? Or what do I not already understand? But he tempers it with a crowd-pleasing sensibility that's just as blatant. When they cover (or "deconstruct," or whatever) MJ's "Human Nature", I realize they love it for the same reason I do -- the harmonic suspension in the verse ("looking OUT", the tonic stays in place on "OUT" and scrapes against the rest of the chord) that doesn't resolve until the chorus: "why, WHY", the second "WHY" is on the same chord but now the suspension is resolved... look, I'm sure someone's concocted a better way to talk about this stuff, but let's just say "Human Nature" is in Josh's Top 10 Songs Ever, basically because those Toto dudes know their shit, and Iyer preserves the song's gloopy appeal for me while taking it someplace new, and that's why I love his music and don't just respect his skill and craft. Other good songs too.
Way better than Charlie Haden and Hank Jones's Come Sunday.