2017 FORT ADAMS LINEUP
FRIDAY AUGUST 4, 2017
Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith
A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke features Vijay Iyer and his “hero, friend and teacher”, Wadada Leo Smith. Vijay previously played extensively with Wadada in the trumpeter’s Golden Quartet. As he recalls, “That group’s broad palette included ‘pure’ tones and distorted sound, motion and stillness, melody and noise. In quartet performances, Wadada and I often became a unit within the unit generating spontaneous duo episodes as formal links. In the process, a space of possibility emerged that introduced me to other systems of music-making. We have continued this approach in recent years…” A particularly inspiring collaboration in 2015 underlined the affinity of their sounds and concepts and made the documentation of the duo a priority. Hence this album, which captures their improvisational magic, the expressive individuality of the participants and the ways in which they can – as Wadada Leo Smith says – “merge as a single wave, or a single voice.”
Both musicians have received a great deal of international press attention in recent seasons. A 2013 Pulitzer finalist, Smith was the Jazz Journalist Association’s 2013 ‘Musician of the Year’ and ’Trumpeter of the Year’. In 2014 DownBeat named him “One of the 80 Coolest Things in Jazz Today,” citing his “magisterial instrumental voice, his inspirational leadership, and his command of classical, jazz and blues forms to remind us of what’s gone down and what’s still happening.” Vijay Iyer, meanwhile, received the annual prize of the German Record Critics (Preis der Deutschen Schapllattenkritik, Jahrespreis) – the latest of many awards – for his album Break Stuff (with Stephan Crump and Marcus Gilmore), and was voted ’Jazz Artist of the Year’ in the DownBeat Critics Poll in 2012, 2015 and 2016 as well as the ‘Pianist of the Year’ in 2014.