Praised far and wide as one of the most vital contemporary jazz musicians, pianist and composer Vijay Iyer has racked up truckloads of awards and accolades for music that embraces both the cerebral and visceral. Wildly innovative, but at the same time tied to the popular realms of rock, soul, and hip hop, Iyer also manages to incorporate his Indian heritage and deep veins of classical. He's worked with the likes of Steve Coleman, Rudresh Mahanthappa, John Zorn, and Das Racist, and leads a stellar, intuitively attuned trio that includes drummer Marcus Gilmore and bassist Stephan Crump. So there's ample reason for Iyer to merit a two-day festival at the Walker. Thursday's show will begin with Iyer and jazz avant-garde trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith premiering a new collaborative piece. That will be followed by an Iyer solo performance, and then Iyer's trio, whose new album, Accelerando, focuses on the many facets of rhythm, including covers of Ellington, Henry Threadgill, and Michael Jackson. Friday will feature another Iyer solo set between a collaboration with poet/rapper/provocateur Mike Ladd, and a performance by Tirtha (the trio of Iyer, tabla master Nitin Mitta, and guitarist Prasanna), which explores the connections between jazz and Indian classical music.
Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m. Starts: March 1. Continues through March 2, 2012