Vijay Iyer: Mutations

Vijay Iyer is nothing if he isn’t ambitious. The pianist never seems to sit still, releasing music ranging from traditional trios to background sounds for war veterans’ dreams. This time out, his first for ECM, he brings in a string quartet consisting of Miranda Cucson/v, Michi Wiancko/v, Kyle Armbrust/vla and Kivie Cahn-Lopman/vc for  ten “Mutations” (numbered in Roman Numerals like ”you know who”)which are then bookended by piano solo works. The result is a sound that brings rich and modern sounding chamber jazz together with ruminating and sophisticated solos that are dark and deep.

The quartet serves as not only a frame for Iyer’s solos, but as a creator of a mood for each peace, able to go from deeply meditative to pensively romantic. Iyer’s touch sometimes shines like a high beam in the fog, and other moments gently riding the crest of the wave to the shore. More subtle in pulse than actually swinging, this disc serves more for the mind and heart than the toes.

ECM Records

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