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It’s been three years since Vijay Iyer last recorded with his new trio. After remaining faithful for several years to the line-up featuring Stephan Crump on double bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums, Iyer has chosen to surround himself with two no less excellent instrumentalists: Australian bassist Linda May Han Oh and American drummer Tyshawn Sorey.

As on his previous albums, Vijay Iyer‘s approach to piano covers a particularly broad spectrum, including – in addition to his own compositions – a theme by Stevie Wonder and another by Chicago saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell, one of his former mentors.

The fifty-something pianist’s mastery of the keyboard shines through on this new opus, where he uses the full range of the instrument, willingly practicing percussive left-handed playing while the right explores more melodic and rhythmically complex territory.

The interaction between the three musicians is constantly stimulating, and you can sense that they are listening to each other intensely. On a solo track, Vijay Iyer reminds us that, alongside his particularly energetic playing, he can also indulge convincingly in the art of the ballad, as confirmed by another theme played in trio, in which the bassist takes an inspired solo. Tyshawn Sorey – well known for his accompaniment skills – provides dense drumming, sometimes subtle, sometimes invigorating.

All in all, a highly successful opus from a pianist whose career we never tire of following.

Line up :

Vijay Iyer: piano

Linda May Han Oh: double bass

Tyshawn Sorey: drums

Compassion was released by ECM label on February 2, 2024

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