Pianist and composer Vijay Iyer has assembled a new trio with bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Tyshawn Sorey for his latest album Uneasy.
Iyer’s last release was 2018’s The Transitory Poems, a duo recording with pianist Craig Taborn. His last trio album was 2014’s Break Stuff with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore.
The trio recorded Uneasy near the end of 2019 at Oktaven Audio Studio in Mount Vernon, N.Y. Iyer produced the album with Manfred Eicher.
The album features brand-new original compositions as well as others that span Iyer’s career — including Configurations, one of his earliest works — along with non-originals that include Geri Allen’s Drummer’s Song and Cole Porter’s Night and Day.
“The word ‘uneasy’ feels like a brutal understatement, too mild for cataclysmic times,” Iyer says of the album. “But maybe, since the word contains its own opposite, it reminds us that the most soothing, healing music is often born of and situated within profound unrest; and conversely, the most turbulent music may contain stillness, coolness, even wisdom.”
Ahead of the album’s release, Iyer has shared the opening track Children of Flint, a rumination on the Flint water crisis.
“Due to gross negligence and systemic racism, the entire town’s drinking water supply was poisoned with lead,” Iyer said. “Thousands of children in that town, who are mostly African American, have been exposed to unsafe levels of lead, leading to widespread health issues, chronic illnesses and learning disabilities. This piece is dedicated to those children.”
Iyer is donating to flintkids.org to support victims of the crisis, and is asking listeners to do the same if they can.
Here’s the track listing for Uneasy:
- Children of Flint
- Combat Breathing
- Night and Day
- Drummer’s Song
Uneasy is available April 9 via ECM.