The return of Vijay Iyer

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Vijay Iyer (Photo:

In the musical realm of talent and expertise, Vijay Iyer stands out as an amalgam of innovation, thought and emotion. The composer and jazz pianist, who grew up in Fairport, returns to the area next week with the Vijay Iyer Trio.

The group will play at Kilbourn Hall on Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Kilbourn Concert Series organized by the Eastman School of Music.

A MacArthur Fellow who has been voted Downbeat Magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Year four times in the last decade, Iyer’s work draws on the rhythms of South Asia and West Africa, the African-American creative music movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and composer-pianist greats like Thelonius Monk and Duke Ellington.

With 24 albums–and numerous awards–to his name, Iyer also composes for classical ensembles and soloists. Some of his commissions have been performed by the Silk Road Ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and virtuoso Matt Haimowitz. He has been an artist-in-residence at New York’s Metropolitan Music of Art and a composer-in-residence at Wigmore Hall in London. Iyer also teaches at Harvard University in the departments of music and African-American studies.

In Rochester, Iyer will be joined by Linda May Han Oh and Jeremy Dutton, who are noteworthy as well. A bassist and composer, Oh, who was raised in Perth, has been called a rising star. She has performed and recorded with artists including Pat Metheny and Joe Lovano. Oh has written for ensembles and for film. She is on faculty at the New School in New York and at the Berklee College of Music.

Drummer Jeremy Dutton completes the trio with his rhythmic focus. He is known for detail and subtlety. Like Iyer and Oh, Houston native Dutton is a collaborator. At 21, he was asked to serve as drum chair in Iyer’s sextet. He has performed with Camila Meza, Gerald Clayton and several others, traveling across the globe. Dutton’s beats are on many critically acclaimed jazz records as well.

Now Rochester audiences will have the opportunity to watch the Vijay Iyer Trio– whose reviews often hold superlatives–in action, blending traditional and new sounds into resonating music.

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

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