Far From Over

Vijay Iyer Sextet

EN / DE
Keyboardist-composer Vijay Iyer’s energized sequence of ECM releases has garnered copious international praise. Yet his fifth for the label since 2014 – Far From Over, featuring his dynamically commanding sextet – finds Iyer reaching a new peak, furthering an artistry that led The Guardian to call him “one of the world’s most inventive new-generation jazz pianists” and The New Yorker to describe him as “extravagantly gifted… brilliantly eclectic. Far From Over features this sextet of virtuoso improvisers – with horn players Graham Haynes, Steve Lehman and Mark Shim alongside rhythm partners Stephan Crump and Tyshawn Sorey – leveraging a wealth of jazz history even as it pushes boldly forward. The music ranges from the thrillingly explosive (“Down to the Wire,” “Good on the Ground”) to the cathartically elegiac (“For Amiri Baraka,” “Threnody”), with melodic hooks, entrancing atmosphere, rhythmic muscle and an elemental spirit all part of the allure. “This group has a lot of fire in it, but also a lot of earth, because the tones are so deep, the timbres and textures,” Iyer says. “There’s also air and water – the music moves.”
Vijay Iyers energiegeladene ECM-Veröffentlichungen haben international reichlich Lob eingefahren. Und doch erreicht Pianist und Komponist Iyer mit Far From Over – sein fünftes Album für das Label seit 2014, eingespielt im dynamischen Sextett – ein neues Level. Er treibt jene künstlerische Entwicklung weiter, die den englischen ‚Guardian‘ dazu brachte, ihn „einen der weltweit einfallsreichsten Jazzpianisten der neuen Generation“ zu nennen. Das Magazin ‚New Yorker‘ bezeichnete ihn als „extravagant begabt“ und einen „glänzenden Eklektiker“.
Far From Over präsentiert sein Sextett aus virtuosen Improvisatoren – mit den Bläsern Graham Haynes, Steve Lehman und Mark Shim und einem Rhythmusgespann aus Bassist Stephan Crump und Tyshawn Sorey. Dabei nutzt die Gruppe die Fülle der Jazzhistorie, während sie kühn nach vorne drängt. Das Spektrum der Musik reicht von aufregend Explosivem („Down to the Wire”, “Good on the Ground”) bis zu Elegischem (“For Amiri Baraka,” “Threnody”), wobei melodiöse Hooks, bezaubernde Atmosphäre, rhythmische Kraft und ein urwüchsiger Spirit zur Faszination des Ganzen beitragen. „Diese Gruppe hat eine Menge Feuer in sich, aber auch Erdiges, denn ihre Klänge, Timbres und Texturen haben eine solche Tiefe“, sagt Iyer. „Und es gibt auch Luft und Wasser – diese Musik ist in Bewegung.“
Featured Artists Recorded

April 2017, Avatar Studios, New York

  • 1Poles
    (Vijay Iyer)
    07:49
  • 2Far From Over
    (Vijay Iyer)
    06:15
  • 3Nope
    (Vijay Iyer)
    05:41
  • 4End Of The Tunnel
    (Vijay Iyer)
    02:17
  • 5Down To The Wire
    (Vijay Iyer)
    07:43
  • 6For Amiri Baraka
    (Vijay Iyer)
    03:22
  • 7Into Action
    (Vijay Iyer)
    05:00
  • 8Wake
    (Vijay Iyer)
    04:46
  • 9Good On The Ground
    (Vijay Iyer)
    06:32
  • 10Threnody
    (Vijay Iyer)
    08:24
An object lesson in music for the heart, the head and the feet, ‘Far from Over’ often sounds like vivacious folk music or displaced blues, reflects the hipness of Miles Davis’s 1960s postbop bands and 70s electronic ones or the contemporaneity of slow-burn Bad Plus buildups, and yet is consistently spine-tingling in improvisations that sound simultaneously inside and outside the harmonies. […] As a contemporary jazz set, ‘Far from Over’ has just about everything.
John Fordham, The Guardian
 
Eine Musik, die gleichzeitig anspruchsvoll (und sauschwer zu spielen) ist und uns mit direktem Punch auf den Solar Plexus trifft, also jede Versuchung zu geschmäcklerischer Gourmandise zum vornherein wegfegt. Die Gruppe hat einen eigenen, aus allen sechs individuellen Stimmen zusammengesetzten Sound; die Spannung zwischen mächtiger solistischer Eloquenz und gestanzten Tuttis ist eine Attraktion dieser CD (so etwas wie eine friedliche Umsetzung der militärischen Maxime ‚getrennt marschieren, gemeinsam zuschlagen‘). Hier ist eine richtige BAND, mit Iyer allenfalls als primus inter pares. Blitzgescheit, aber ganz ohne des Gedankens Blässe.
Peter Rüedi, Weltwoche
 
Der Pianist Vijay Iyer nutzt mit seinem Sextett alles, was er aus der Post-Free-Ära als nützlich einstuft. Da blasen der Trompeter Graham Haynes und die Saxophonisten Steve Lehman und Mark Shim wilde, raue und sanfte Soli, da groovt und rumort die Rhythmusgruppe: Perfekt.
Werner Stiefele, Stereoplay
 
In zehn neuen, sorgfältig konzipierten Stücken, mit kompositorischer Sensibilität und inspiriertem Klavierspiel, stimuliert Vijay Iyer die Regsamkeit eines großartigen neuen Sextetts, das im Handumdrehen aus der Komfortzone der Hörgewohnheiten und des Mainstream lockt […] Phänomenal wie Steve Lehman und der erstaunliche Mark Shim ihre Timbres manipulieren, während Tyshawn Sorey die große Verzweigheit seiner Trommelkunst zeigt, wunderbar kontrastiert vom samtigen Ton von Graham Haynes, dem Sohn des Drummers Roy Haynes.
Karl Lippegaus, Fono Forum
 
Des Hörers Sinne sollten geschärft sein, wenn er sich auf die neue Einspielung des Pianisten Vijay Iyer einlässt. In seinen hochkomplexen    Kompositionen, deren Rhythmen von klassischer indischer und westafrikanischer Musik inspiriert sind, treffen fette Grooves auf kniffelig-vertrackten Post Bop und Kammermusikalisches. […] Mit ‚Far From Over‘ gelang Iyer ein frisches, vielschichtiges Album. Sein bestes bisher.
Andreas Collet, Badische Zeitung
 
Vijay Iyers mittlerweile fünftes Album für ECM ist aber sicher ein ganz besonderer Meilenstein innerhalb seiner bislang 23 Veröffentlichungen. Denn die zehn Stücke auf ‚Far From Over‘ sind zwar durch die unkonventionelle Kreativität und Komplexität im kompositorischen Schaffen des 45-jährigen Universalgenies und serienmäßigen Downbeat-Poll-Siegers geprägt und mit allerlei rhythmischen, melodischen und harmonischen Raffinessen gespickt, werden aber vom neuen Sextett mit einer Leidenschaft und Begeisterung musiziert, die absolut ansteckend wirkt. Sie halten Ecken und Kanten, atmosphärische Brüche und unvorhersehbare Überraschungsmomente bereit – und nehmen einen von der ersten Sekunde an total gefangen. […]. Selbstverständlich überzeugt auch Iyer an Piano und Fender Rhodes mit seinen ausgefinkelten Soli, vor allem begeistert er aber als unbeirrbarer Steuermann, der seine erstklassige Crew voller Forscherdrang, Abenteuerlust und Risikobereitschaft durch diesen musikalischen Mahlstrom navigiert – ohne vorgefertigte Routen und sichere Häfen. Phantastisch!
Peter Füßl, Kultur
 
If you're looking for the shape of jazz to come, here it is...the sturdiness of its design and the passion of its execution make [Far From Over] 2017's jazz album to beat.
Hank Shteamer, Rolling Stone
 
‘Far From Over’ is ambitious, varied, and thrilling. If you are tempted to see it as a more conventional ‘jazz’ record from someone who has worked in many different forms, I suppose that’s okay. […] Like Hancock’s Mwandishi group, this sextet exploits key assets: a brilliant, orchestral drummer, a sly and expressive brass player, cutting saxophonists, and a leader and pianist whose compositions are both challenging and memorable. ‘Nope’ makes the connection most emphatically—a gorgeous funk tune that is as greasy and hip as any of today’s Robert Glasper tracks but has more historic weight. The twinned saxophones, jousting over the groove, bring to mind the early Steve Coleman M-Base recordings. Iyer’s ghostly Fender Rhodes playing within the rhythm section is the hook to the Mwandishi group.
Will Layman, Popmatters
 
The 10-track, nearly hour-long album offers one of the bandleader’s strongest and most varied programs—one in which feverish ensemble writing hangs together with groove-oriented tracks and sparer experimental textures. […] The union of players and material inspires a new synthesis: the sound of Iyer consolidating strengths and discovering some new ones as he settles into the vibe created by his most potent band yet.
Seth Colter Walls, Pitchfork
 
‘Far From Over’ is a splendid showcase for Iyer as pianist and composer, and there is plenty of space for the other sextet members to shine as well. A fine addition to his discography, and an excellent place for new listeners to start.
Mark Sullivan, All About Jazz
 
Vijay Iyer’s dazzling new album may put jazz divisions to rest for ever. He takes a classic hard-bop sextet and feeds into it the rhythms of funk, hip-hop, Indian classical music and African drums. The line-up is then put to work on dense, gripping tunes that oscillate between well-drilled orchestration and uninhibited improv. Jazz tradition becomes a launch pad into frontiers far beyond mere fusion. The band are a true ensemble: solos emerge stealthily from the morass, earn their place against the complex, competitive backing, then dissolve back into it. […] It’s all held together by the unassuming felicity of bassist Stephan Crump and the furiously flexible drummer Tyshawn Sorey. A bold new platform for the future of jazz.
Chris Pearson, The Times
 
Pianist Vijay Iver has built an impressive career over twenty years, channeling his interests in classical music, physics, music cognition and, of course, jazz into a substantial body of work that continues to grow. ‘Far From Over’, his first recorded project with his Sextet, not only adds an item to his catalog – it also marks a new milestone. […] Iyer really makes an effort here to highlight all sides of his musical skills, letting two decades of experience boil into an exceptionally tasty dish. Iyer has already proven himself a jazz master, but with ‘Far From Over’, he takes his talent as composer, player and bandleader to new heights.
Michael Toland, Blurt
 
‘Far From Over’ is replete with exhilaration and exuberance, from the opener, Poles to tracks like Down to the Wire and Into Action. There is a sense of bold adventure in what is, according to Iyer himself, music that is 'fiendishly difficult' to play betimes. In the middle of its wild careering, Poles slows down for a gentle flugelhorn interlude - no particular structural reason, but it's a nice serendipity. So you don't know what's coming half the time, which is fundamental to the album's charm. […] An album worth listening to and savouring for its fearless sense of eclectic adventure.
Paddy Kehoe, RTE
 
Diesmal hat er sein reguläres Trio mit dem Bassisten Stephan Crump und dem Schlagezuger Tyshawn Sorey um drei prominente      Bläser erweitert: die Saxophonisten Mark Shim und Steve Lehman und den Kornettisten und Trompeter Graham Haynes. Diesem Sextett hat Iyer komplexe, sehr abwechslungsreiche Kompositionen auf den Leib geschrieben, zwischen Fusion und Bigband-Sound, zwischen Kammerjazz und Free Funk. Vijay Iyer komponiert weite Spanungsbögen, lässt aber gleichzeitig den Improvisationen seiner Mitmusiker viel Raum. So entsteht eine Musik, die für den Zuhörer durchweg Spannend ist, die sehr unterschiedliche Stimmungen widerspiegeln kann, die genaues Hinhören und offene Ohren fordert und die in ersten Kritiken völlig zu Recht mit einem Ornette-Coleman-Plattentitel bezeichet wurde als ‚The Shape of Jazz to come‘.
Bernhard Jugel, Bayerischer Rundfunk
 
Jeder muss seine Individualität einbringen, dann wächst etwas Größeres. Mit diesem musikalischen Demokratisierungsprogramm wird auf die Verwerfungen der amerikanischen Gegenwart reagiert: anspruchsvoll, quicklebendig,
Ulrich Steinmetzger, Leipziger Volkszeitung
 
Angeleitet und angetrieben von dem Pianisten Iyer zeigen die Bläser ein Können, das so beiläufig wie brillant wirkt. Kenner wissen und Laien fühlen, wie viel Liebe in den Tönen steckt.
Oliver Creutz, Stern
 
Pianist Vijay Iyer is all about high velocity, dense harmony and heavy, sculptural left-hand playing. As an improviser he’s more interested in solid bone structure than melodic narrative. That’s all fine – actually, it’s remarkable – but how could it have gotten so popular? What’s it in Iyer’s sound that explains his broad appeal? I think it has something to do with the balance he strikes between grounded power and frictionless flow. Somehow, it suggests questions that go beyond the music. For him, the jazz combo is an experimental space, where the limits of collective strength and individual action can be tested. […] we get a new kind of pounding urgency: the odd-metered onslaught of the title track; the rough-shod funk of ‘Into Action’; the swarming and charging ‘Down To The Wire’.
Giovanni Russonello, Downbeat
 
Die Musik ist komplex, politisch (‚Kämpfe um Gleichberechtigung, Rechtsstaatlichkeit und einfachste Menschenrechte sind nie vorbei‘, heißt es im Booklet) und nichts zum Nebenbeihören. Eine wunderbare Gelegenheit also, sich mal eine Stunde aus der irren Welt auszuklinken.
Janko Tietz, Literaturspiegel
 
Das ist super, was Vijay Iyer hier mit seinem neuen Sextett – Klavier, Bass, Drums, zwei Saxofone, eine Trompete – in den Tiefen des Post-Free sammelt. […] klug, inspiriert, lustvoll, groovy – eine Übung in komponierter Freiheit mit Klassikerpotenzial.
Markus Schneider, Rolling Stone (German Edition)
 
His arrangements bring out the deeper tones and textures of his band, in a good contrast to the fire of their delivery. Iyer just keeps getting stronger with each outing, and this is his best set so far. Enjoy.
Simon Adams, Jazz Journal
 
Vijay Iyer’s fifth record for ECM is the pianist’s most engaging yet. Over ten scenes, Iyer directs an original storyline with his freshly-cut diamond of a sextet […] ‘Far From Over’ is a call to listening. […] Jazz may be heard as a genre of emancipation, but Iyer understands that freedom is    illusory until actualized, that communal action is the embodiment of humanity’s reach for its flame and that music is one way to keep us from getting burned in the process.
Tyran Grillo, New York City Jazz Record
 
A l’heutre où tout se dematerialize, voilà un album un peu hors la ligne de son label qui, meme par le truchement d’une organization savant et modern des sons, nous rappelled à la nature éternellement concrete, émoutante, de la vie.
François-René Simon, Jazz Magazine
 
With this superb album, Iyer must lay to claim to having one of the most dynamic and explosive groups on the New York scene, and this must be one of the small group albums of the year. With the rate of progress of this always compelling musician, it will be interesting to hear how develops his music further.
Nick Lea, Jazz Views
 
Iyer is one of the most decorated musicians in jazz. His technical erudition and facility are beyond question, but he is not for everyone. His music, in its precise, rapid execution of complexity, can sound more mathematical and austere than lyrical and personal. ‘Far From Over’ plays to his strengths. With elite players around him, he can focus on creating ferocious, protean energy (he is one of the most rhythmically centered and rhythmically gifted of pianists) and let his sidemen provide passionate responses to the form and content of each composition.
Thomas Conrad, Jazz Times
 
The dynamic six-piece band kick up a storm on tracks like cacophonous opener ‘Poles’. […] Iyer says he hopes that the music will inspire and re-energise the listener in ‘a time of fierce urgency and precarity’. Intense and muscular, ‘Far From Over’ does this – and much more.
Ian Sinclair, Morning Star
 
On ‘Far From Over’ Iyer brilliantly integrates avant-garde compositional leaning with contemporary pop flourishes and modern jazz. A gem.
Stewart Smith, The Quietus
 
The album sweeps across a rich stylistic and textural spectrum. […] If ‘Far From Over’ is the work of an innovative composer taking the pulse of leading-edge jazz and steering it in vital and surprising new directions, it’s all the more remarkable that the same description could apply to all five of his bandmates.
Shaun Bradz, Jazziz
 
Sein Sextett klingt ungewohnt expressiv, mitunter gar funky. Doch das ist nur eine Facette eines Sound-Panoptikums, das vielschichtig die Tradition reflektiert. Hymnische Modalität, turbulente Kollektiv-Passagen, freie Ausbrüche, traumartige Elektronik-Sequenzen, selbst romantische Momente vereinen sich zu einer begeisternden Stilfusion von ungewöhnlicher Dichte. Die Improvisationen enthalten - im Internet-Jargon ausgedrückt - viel ‚Content‘, sind also äußerst gehaltvoll. Das Vokabular von Mark Shim und Steve Lehman an den Saxofonen ist hochentwickelt und nuancenreich, Schlagzeuger Tyshawn Sorey entfacht ein in verschiedenste Richtungen aufloderndes Trommelfeuer. Und Iyer lenkt all dies mit überlegt perkussiv eingeworfenen Tonpartikeln. Denn im Zentrum seiner Musik stehen ausgefeilte rhythmische Motivzellen, die das Geschehen ebenso intelligent wie impulsiv vorantreiben. Das Werk eines Strebers? Mag sein. Aber dieser hier hat auch Herz und Seele.
Georg Spindler, Mannheimer Morgen
 
Explosiv bis elegisch und bezaubernd: Das variantenreiche Repertoire auf dem Album des Jazz-Pianisten, das gewohnte Grenzen lächelnd ignoriert, liefert den Beweis, dass Avantgarde in den Händen improvisationssicherer, Fantasie-begabter Musiker durchaus abwechslungsreich, spannend und mitreißend sein kann.
Werner Rosenberger, Wiener Kurier
 
This is a record that we were waiting for from a musician who has done so much in the last 20 years. Finally, Iyer has recorded with horns, building a jazz sextet that occasionally reminds you of the Jazz Messengers but much more often follows in the footsteps of Herbie Hancock's too-little-lauded Mwandishi group. Graham Haynes is a revelation on cornet and flugelhorn, with Mark Shim playing tenor and Steve Lehman on alto. In the rhythm section Iyer leans on his trio-mates Stephan Crump (bass) and Tyshawn Sorey (drums). The result is funky, subtle, gorgeous, blues-drenched, electric, pastel, everything.
Will Layman, Pop Matters
 
Vijay Iyer gelingt mit ‘Far From Over’ das Kunstwerk, eines seiner vielfältigsten, seiner traditionellsten und zugleich ein weit nach vorne weisendes Album vorzulegen.
Wolfram Knauer, Jazzpodium
 
Vijay Iyer has cultivated a broad coalition of admirers with the streamlined complexities and chant-like resonances of his music, mainly through the sterling work of an acoustic piano trio. With ‘Far From Over’, he formally introduced a six-piece unit whose sound nods toward the jazz continuum even while opening up new options for texture and counterpoint. The band's front line — Graham Haynes on cornet and flugelhorn, Steve Lehman on alto saxophone, Mark Shim on tenor saxophone — handles abstract striations as well as post-bop maneuvers. (They're also essential in the honk-and-blare strategies that frame a piece like ‘Into Action.’) And because rhythm is always the engine in Iyer's music, this album lives and dies by the tactile contingencies of his interplay with Stephan Crump's earthy bass playing and Tyshawn Sorey's whipsaw drumming. There's a political dimension here, too: ‘As the arc of history lurches forward and backward,’ Iyer observes in his liner notes, ‘the fact remains: local and global struggles for equality, justice, and basic human rights are far from over.’ With any luck, the album's title phrase also describes the road ahead for this superb sextet.
Nate Chinen, WBGO
 
No single music category encompasses the sonically lustrous, rhythmically dynamic, intellectually bristling music that Iyer’s sextet has recorded here. Rich in motivic development, utterly unpredictable in melodic direction and startling in the colours it evokes, ‘Far From Over’ stands as a major statement from a pianist-composer-bandleader who already has produced several of them.
Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
Keyboardist-composer Vijay Iyer’s energized sequence of ECM releases has garnered copious international praise. Yet his fifth for the label since 2014 – Far From Over, featuring his dynamically commanding sextet – finds Iyer reaching a new peak, furthering an artistry that led him to be voted DownBeat Artist of the Year in 2012, 2015 and 2016 and for The Guardian to dub his work the “dizzying pinnacle of contemporary jazz multitasking.” Far From Over features this sextet of virtuoso improvisers – with horn players Graham Haynes, Steve Lehman and Mark Shim alongside rhythm partners Stephan Crump and Tyshawn Sorey – leveraging a wealth of jazz history even as the group pushes boldly forward. The music ranges from the thrillingly explosive (“Down to the Wire,” “Good on the Ground”) to the cathartically elegiac (“For Amiri Baraka,” “Threnody”), with melodic hooks, entrancing atmosphere, rhythmic muscle and an elemental spirit all part of the allure. “This group has a lot of fire in it, but also a lot of earth, because the tones are so deep, the timbres and textures,” Iyer says. “There’s also air and water – the music moves.”
 Iyer’s previous ECM releases include A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke, a duet album with iconic trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith from last year; Break Stuff from 2015, featuring his longstanding trio with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore; the ravishing 35-minute score to the 2013 film Radhe Radhe – Rites of Holi, presenting Iyer alongside the International Contemporary Ensemble; and Mutations, Iyer’s ECM debut as a leader, showcasing an extended suite for piano, string quartet and electronics. Far From Over found Iyer working in his sextet at New York City’s Avatar Studios, with Manfred Eicher producing the album. Throughout, the pianist plays off the melodic-rhythmic possibilities of the material in a characteristically engaging way – witness his solos in the grooving “In Action” and “Nope.” His orchestration of the horns is both textural and exciting, but in creating his sextet music, Iyer tends to “build from the rhythm first, from the identity of the groove,” he explains. “Many of the rhythms come from folk music – from West African drumming or Indian classical music. ‘Good on the Ground’ draws on South Indian folk rhythms, with this simple but rugged dance quality, a bounce that makes you feel like you might be at an outdoor festival of some kind.”
 The member of the sextet with whom Iyer has had the longest relationship is bassist Stephan Crump. “I’ve played with Stephan since I moved to New York in 1999, contacting him out of the blue when he didn’t know me from Adam. Stephan is in my trio but was also in my quartet, so we’ve made a lot of records together. It’s often said that my music is complicated, but Stephan has a way of giving it this lyricism and simplicity, backing off technical details to treat the music as a shape and as a feeling.”
 Drummer Tyshawn Sorey has long been an alternate member of Iyer’s trio, often subbing whenever Gilmore can’t make the gig. Iyer and Sorey have also worked together in various other configurations since 2001, including the sessions for Radhe Radhe. “Tyshawn has perfect pitch and total recall, this sort of omniscient listening skill,” Iyer says. “There are other drummers like that: Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts and Jack DeJohnette come to mind. Tony Williams was like that, too – just hyper-aware of everything that’s happening in the ensemble. Tyshawn is right in that legacy. He has this total view of music, with an understanding of how form and memory are related and how they work through time. He’s a wizard with that. And as a drummer, he has some of the most incredible technical virtuosity, but his groove, his pocket is so deep.”
 
 The track “Nope” has a deep funk to it, illustrating Iyer’s point about Sorey’s grooving abilities. Then there is the rhythm trio’s cohesive, high-energy base that the horns fly over ecstatically in “Far From Over,” “Good on the Ground” and “Down to the Wire” (the latter of which also includes a long, roiling solo by Sorey). The elegy “For Amiri Baraka” is given a dramatic trio performance, sans horns. Through touring as a trio, Iyer, Crump and Sorey have developed their own discrete character as a rhythm section, having spent much time “in the heat of things, finding ways to make music work,” the pianist says. “That’s given us a certain unity together. There aren’t many words for it, and there’s no shortcut to getting there. We’ve learned over the years how to hold something down and also how to grow something – how to create the arc of an experience for the audience and ourselves.”
 
 The three horn players on Far From Over – Graham Haynes (cornet, flugelhorn and electronics), Steve Lehman (alto saxophone) and Mark Shim (tenor sax) – “are some of my favorite musicians,” Iyer says. “Each of them has a unique identity, sound and vision.” About Shim, whose solo roars through album opener “Poles,” Iyer says: “I think Mark is the rare tenor player of his generation to have that depth and size of sound. With him, I hear all these references: Joe Henderson, Billy Harper, Coleman Hawkins. It’s like taking a sip of a certain wine, and it can have an association with all these flavors. Each of these guys has a sound that has so many nuances and textures that make me think of a lot of other music. Partly, it’s because each of them has had such a long, interesting career. Mark played with Betty Carter and Elvin Jones. He has a lot of wisdom from contact with some of the legends in this music.”
 
 Haynes – whose horn pairs sensuously with Iyer’s Fender Rhodes in “Poles” (shades of late-’60 Miles Davis) and has extended atmospheric features with electronics in “End of the Tunnel” and “Wake” – enjoyed more than just working contact with jazz icons. “Graham’s father is drummer Roy Haynes, a true legend, so Graham comes directly from that musical legacy,” Iyer explains. “He has a certain relationship to time that’s mysterious. I remember when I had him up as faculty at Banff in Canada a few summers ago, he gave a workshop titled ‘Time Does Not Exist.’ There’s a quality to his playing where you hear that sensibility, in that he has this sense of form that’s really expansive. You hear in his improvisations that he takes the long view, and he achieves a lot with sound, where one note can speak volumes.”
 
 Iyer has worked with Lehman – who gives an especially stirring, climactic performance in “Threnody” – nearly as long as his rhythm mates. “I met Steve when he was playing in Anthony Braxton’s group,” the pianist recalls. “Steve turned my head with his sound and his improvisational language. Again, it conjured up a lot of associations: Braxton himself, but also Jackie McLean, with whom he studied. I also heard a compositional wisdom in the way Steve improvised. There’s a burning alto-player sound that people are used to hearing, whether it’s Cannonball Adderley or Kenny Garrett. Steven can have that quality with his technical fluidity and an acerbic sound that can cut. But the way he puts solos and lines together, there’s a lot of other information in there, too. We’ve worked pretty steadily together for more than a dozen years, including in the trio Fieldwork that we’ve had with Tyshawn. So, with all of these guys, I have deep history and great admiration.”
 
 In his liner note for Far From Over, Iyer hints at the driving, free-minded spirit of the album by quoting Wadada Leo Smith on the ideal function of music, saying that it should “transform” a listener’s life if only for an instant, “so that when they go back to the routine part of living, they carry with them a little bit of something else.”
 
 Iyer expands on that notion while reflecting on the troubled socio-political climate around the world: “There’s a resistance in this music, an insistence on dignity and compassion, a refusal to be silenced. The music can hit hard while also having a searching quality, a yearning – which is basically a blues aesthetic that has been abstracted and then embodied in different ways by the different players in the group. There’s a defiance there, though it’s balanced by a unity the sextet achieves. Defiance and unity, somehow together – that’s the sound this band captures to me. Joy and danger – that spectrum of possibilities is in there, too. There’s real exuberance in the playing, though a lot of the music is fiendishly difficult to play. Sometimes we don’t know how we’re going to make it, which puts us in this vulnerable space. But that vulnerability enables us to access emotion and bring that into the music. It’s not about showing off a certain prowess or being ‘angry.’ It’s about being vulnerable – that has to be in the music. When I hear that in somebody else, I feel like it’s inviting me in. When you reveal something of yourself in the course of making music, it brings the listener right up close to you. It can make them feel involved in the music, so that it’s a shared experience. And that’s the idea.”
YEAR DATE VENUE LOCATION
2023 June 15 Dizzy's New York NY, United States
2023 June 16 Dizzy's New York NY, United States
2023 June 17 Dizzy's New York NY, United States
2023 June 18 Dizzy's New York NY, United States
2023 June 26 Vancouver Jazz Festival Vancouver BC, Canada
2023 June 28 Ottawa Jazz Festival Ottawa, Canada
2023 June 29 Montreal Jazz Festival Montreal QC, Canada
2023 July 29 Caramoor Center for the Arts Katonah NY, United States