Break Stuff is what happens after formal elements have been addressed. Vijay Iyer calls the break a span of time in which to act. Its the basis for breakdowns, breakbeats, and break dancing... it can be the moment when everything comes to life. A number of the pieces here are breakdowns of other Iyer constructions. Some are from a suite premiered at New Yorks Museum of Modern Art, some derive from Open City, a collaboration with novelist Teju Cole and large ensemble. The trio energetically recasts everything it touches. Hood is a tribute to Detroit techno pioneer Robert Hood. On Work, Vijay pays homage to his number one hero, Thelonious Monk. Countdown reconsiders the classic Coltrane tune inside a rhythmic framework inspired by West African music.
Mystery Woman is driven by compound pulses which owe a debt to South Indian drumming. Fast moving and quick-witted, the group has developed a strong musical identity of its own, with an emphasis on what Iyer calls co-constructing, exploring all the dynamics of playing together. Yet the three players also get abundant solo space and, in a reflective moment at the albums centre, Iyer plays a moving version of Billy Strayhorns Blood Count alone. Break Stuff, recorded in June 2014 at New Yorks Avatar Studio and produced by Manfred Eicher, is the third ECM release from Vijay Iyer. It follows the chamber music recording Mutations and the film-and-music project Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi.
"Break Stuff is modern jazz on the bleeding edge, a music that not only asks musical questions but answers them, and it does so accessibly and immediately, no matter the form or concept it chooses to express. This trio aims at an interior center, finds it, and pushes out, projecting Iyer & Co.'s discoveries." -Thom Jurek, allmusic.com
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Vijay Iyer, piano
Stephan Crump, double bass
Marcus Gilmore, drums
6. Taking Flight
7. Blood Count
8. Break Stuff
9. Mystery Woman