Vijay Iyer Trio, Compassion, ECM ****

Three years on from the release of Uneasy and the beginnings of the new trio that marked the opening notes of a new chapter for pianist Vijay Iyer with the recruitment of bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Tyshawn Sorey - in the meantime Sorey …

Published: 2 Feb 2024. Updated: 26 days.

Three years on from the release of Uneasy and the beginnings of the new trio that marked the opening notes of a new chapter for pianist Vijay Iyer with the recruitment of bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Tyshawn Sorey - in the meantime Sorey has achieved just as much acclaim for his own trio on Continuing and Iyer has appeared in very different circumstances on the remarkable Love in Exile with Arooj Aftab and Shahzad Ismaily - it's a pensive beginning to Compassion, a deep brooding ballad that soars and in and out of the drums and there is a huge tenderness on next track 'Arch' where as you often get an intricate co-ordination in the writing of what each player's strengths are. Covering Stevie Wonder's 'Overjoyed' is a way of breaking the considerable tension the album has built up but it is a very serious album overall - Iyer's response in part to the ravages COVID-19 had on the world - with lots of weighted moments and a certain grandeur at every turn. Mostly Iyer's own tunes later there are Roscoe Mitchell and John Stubblefield/Geri Allen covers - I liked Iyer's 'Panegyric' with a fine solo from Oh best of all. Certainly another solid release from this trio that already seems something of a pillar of contemporary jazz. SG

L-r: Linda May Han Oh, Vijay Iyer, Tyshawn Sorey, photo: Ogata/ECM

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Alternative folk jazz collective Awen Ensemble to debut

A fresh new band to know about here with the first stirrings from the debut album of Awen Ensemble's Cadair Idris out in April. Leeds based, self-described as an ''alternative folk jazz collective'' the word ''Awen'' in their name means ''poetic …

Published: 1 Feb 2024. Updated: 8 days.

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A fresh new band to know about here with the first stirrings from the debut album of Awen Ensemble's Cadair Idris out in April. Leeds based, self-described as an ''alternative folk jazz collective'' the word ''Awen'' in their name means ''poetic inspiration'' in Welsh. Amy Clark's vocals on the initial track above lands somewhere between the sound of Christine Tobin and Lauren Kinsella. Also in the band are Emyr Penry Dance on trumpet, Saul Duff on tenor sax, Samantha Binotti vibes, Ruari Graham on guitar, Glen Leach on Fender Rhodes, Joe Wilkes on bass and Eddie Bowes on drums and bodhran. Their album is to be issued on the New Soil label and takes its name from a mythology rich peak of Snowdonia. Dates coming up include Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on 28 April.