Harvard is certainly the place to be for jazz this term. In addition to having Herbie Hancock as the Norton professor, Vijay Iyer is now a professor there too. I guess because having just the most innovative jazz pianist of one generation on the faculty isn’t enough.
Tonight we went to see him at Sanders hall with Robert Pinsky. It was a fabulous performance. They really worked well together and there was a lot of energy in the room. After they were done, Vijay brought out the trio (him, Stephan Crump, and Marcus Gilmore) and they performed some of their hits plus some new stuff they’re working on. They were really great. Marcus, in particular, was in absolute top form. Pinsky got back on stage to do one poem about saxophones with the trio. I think that Vijay was saying that they hadn’t had a chance to practice together, but it worked really well.