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Vijay Iyer introduces new band and album Tirtha on March 8, 2011

(Left to right: Nitin Mitta, Vijay Iyer, Prasanna)               Photo credit: Alan Nahigian       

Vijay Iyer, 2011 Grammy nominee & JJA Musician of the Year, Chennai (formerly Madras)-born guitarist-composer Prasanna, and Hyderabad native and tabla player Nitin Mitta have achieved a fully realized, deeply thoughtful, and truly innovative collaboration called Tirthia
Tirthia, to be released on March 8, 2011, combines the elemental directness of rock, the chamber-like intimacy of raga, and bebop’s hard, angular drive, and achieves a profound interplay of melody and rhythm that characterizes jazz.
“Tirtha (the band) formed in response to an invitation,” said Iyer in a news release. “In 2007, I was asked to put together a concert celebrating 60 years of Indian independence. Normally I’ve steered clear of fusion experiments that attempt to mix styles – to “create something,” as John Coltrane famously admonished, “more with labels, you see, than true evolution.” For this event, I hoped to avoid those pitfalls, and offer something personal.
“I invited along Prasanna and Nitin Mitta, two outstanding musicians from India who have settled in the States. None of us had collaborated previously, but at our first rehearsal we felt a jolt of recognition. There was no question of “fusion,” no compromise, no attempt to sound more or less “Indian”; just a fluid musical conversation among three individuals, an atmosphere of camaraderie, a sense of beginning.”

Composer-pianist Iyer is one of today’s most acclaimed and respected young American jazz artists. He received the Musician of the Year Award in the 2010 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards, the 2010 Echo Award (the “German Grammy”) for best international ensemble with his trio, and the Downbeat Critics Poll for rising star jazz group of the year. His latest recordings on the ACT label include Solo (2010) and the trio album Historicity (2009). Historicity subsequently received a Grammy Nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

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Vijay Iyer releases a bit of “Historicity”

In a recent news release, Vijay Iyer explains the word “historicity” as the simple fact of being placed in the stream of history — along with everything it may imply. The idea of today’s creations drawing from older sources compelled Iyer to title his new trio CD “Historicity.”
A presentation of interpretations of other composers’ material, “Historicity” explores tunes ranging from Leonard Bernstein to Andrew Hill to Stevie Wonder to M.I.A. Joining Iyer on this project is bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore.
Iyer has worked with a wide range of contemporary artists, including Steve Coleman, Roscoe Mitchell, Amiri Baraka, Wadada Leo Smith, Oliver Lake, Imani Uzuri, Dafnis Prieto, Karsh Kale, and John Zorn, composed pieces for classical ensembles including the string quartet ETHEL and Imani Winds, and scored film, dance and theater works. Iyer shares a bit about his project to fans via youTube.