Vijay Iyer’s first night as Resident Artistic Director is a landmark evening of duets with a pair of master improvisers and long-term collaborators. Trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, an iconic figure in the world of avant-garde jazz and free improvisation who has been exploring the outer fringes of the music for over four decades while remaining deeply rooted in the jazz tradition. Iyer was a member of Smith’s Golden Quartet, and their inspired 2016 ECM duo release A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke takes its title from a line in the diaries of Nasreen Mohamedi, an Indian visual artist widely considered one of the major figures of 20th century art. Iyer has partnered with saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa for two decades, recording seven sessions together including their 2006 duo release Raw Materials, and each has regularly appeared as part of the other’s working ensembles. Mahanthappa is a Guggenheim Fellow and was voted #1 alto saxophonist in the 59th Annual DownBeat Critics Poll. Beyond the fourteen albums he has led or co-led, the master of Carnatic saxophone has lent his instantly identifiable sound to projects by Clark Terry, Rez Abbasi, Danilo Pérez, and Jack DeJohnette.
Vijay Iyer piano, Fender Rhodes
Wadada Leo Smith trumpet
Rudresh Mahanthappa alto saxophone