One evening with two grand pianos! In 2013 Leuven Jazz invited pianists Stefano Bollani and Fred Hersch in a world premiere as a duo. This time, we present two American pianists, Craig Taborn and Vijay Iyer. They count among the most influential jazz pianists of their generation, following in the footsteps of Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock of the seventies.
Taborn and Iyer met as sparring partners in Roscoe Mitchells Note Factory, a double band with two brass players, two bass players, two drummers and
two pianists. They also shared a common adoration for keyboard players such as Sun Ra, Geri Allen en Cecil Taylor.
They each appear in changing band compositions and are active under the wings of the prestigious ECM label. Craig Taborns Daylight Ghosts (2017) as well as Far From Over (2017) by the Vijay Iyer Sextet got worldwide acclaim as two of the best jazz releases of the year.
Their busy schedules dont allow for too many gigs as a duo. This concert will focus on the dialogue between two styles of playing, an exciting encounter on the tipping point between composition and free improvisation.
On Vijay Iyer
Iyer is a virtuoso pianist, a son of Indian immigrants in the US. Very early, he came in touch with the rich American jazz tradition and almost as no other is capable of combining it with different, non-western influences. In several jazz polls hes nominated Rising Star #1 and hes definitely an outstanding representative of a new American jazz scene. Lately, hes visited Belgium in different formations: with his own trio, solo, in a duo with his faithful companion, saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthapa, and last February with the HERMESensemble from Antwerp.
on Craig Taborn
Taborn is a visionary of the current wave (Downbeat) and one of the greatest pianists of this era. He combines piano and synthesizer and, besides jazz, he also plays techno and electronic music. He has starred alongside band leaders such as James Carter, Tim Berne and Roscoe Mitchell.
In the words of Vijay Iyer: We are both fond of avant-garde jazz, but Craig can really play it. My style is much more traditional, as Im not so technically skilled. When I hear him play, hes so rich in the details. His music is always transparent, yet mysterious at the same time. (
) As hes used to play long solo concerts, he knows exactly how to convey whats in his head to the audience. You really need to take your audience into your realm of thoughts. (translated interview for De Volkskrant.
They showed an amazing level of communication as they ran through one adventurous number after another. They kept the crowd guessing throughout the set list, motoring through a variety of tunes that spanned the gamut of modern jazz styles. The two players volleyed short leads countless times, delivering the musical equivalent of a tennis match (JazzTimes).
A piano spectacle that meandered between expressionism and impressionism. (Enola.be on Vijay Iyer & Craig Taborn).