Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop
Red Giant Records is a small jazz label based in New York. Featuring artists such as guitarist Liberty Ellman, and pianist Vijay Iyer, the label is committed to putting out music that is thoughtful and of high artistic qua... more »
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Red Giant Records is a small jazz label based in New York. Featuring artists such as guitarist Liberty Ellman, and pianist Vijay Iyer, the label is committed to putting out music that is thoughtful and of high artistic quality.
A future classic today!
greg taylor | Portland, Oregon United States | 01/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
The first thing to note is that this is both a trio and an octet disc. This allows two different sides of Iyer as a composer to be expressed.
On the trio cuts, he is joined by Jeff Brock on the bass and Brad Hargreaves on the drums. As a writer for trio, he explores the vast terrain between the European classical and the jazz traditions. His playing is not pyrotechnic- it is more about composition. He uses lots of space in his playing which allows for the harmonic and rhythmic side of his playing to be strongly heard. On his Microchips and Bullocks (which he wrote to convey some of his reaction to the juxtaposition of new technologies and old in India) a Monkish side emerges but very much in his own way. This is one of the admirable things about Iyer. He has absorbed a lot of influences from a lot of traditions. Among others, he mentions and evokes McCoy Tyner, Cecil Taylor and Duke Ellington but he doesn't really sound like any of them. And he is only is his mid-twenties at the time of this recording!
On the octet sides, the writing is more straight ahead jazz but again with a very individual, swinging and modern voice. The band is Rudresh Mahanthappa on the alto, Aaron Stewart and Eric Crystal on the tenor, Liberty Ellman on the guitar, both Brock and Kevin Ellington Mingus on the basses and Hargreaves again on the drums. As individuals these guys are amazing and as a group they are as good as any I have heard. I can only hope that they tour out west soon as individuals or (I can dream, can't I?)as this group.
Mahanthappa and Ellman are the real standouts to my ears. I love the way Mahanthappa will accelerate in his solos. He has a great sense of time; almost slippery but also very precise. If you can find any of his own records, buy them. Again, this is an amazingly young man to sound this mature on his horn. Where do these people come from? Liberty Ellman is a real find to me. He seems to be an extension of the Grant Green, Phil Upchurch, Melvin Sparks school of guitar but harmonically more advanced. His CD is my next purchase based on the way he plays on this one.
I agree with my fellow reviewer most importantly in that this should be a better known CD. I have been a jazz listener for about 35 years now. Hearing CDs like this reminds me how infinitely vital this music can be- how in order to play it well the player has to be wide open to a world of influences and yet true to and honest about their individual musical soul. Mr. Iyer and his associates live up to that standard as well anyone I have ever heard play at their age. If this was a mid-sixties Blue Note, it would be considered a classic. Personally, I think it is a classic."