Vijay Iyer, Break Stuff (ECM)
It would be safe to say that the pianist Vijay Iyer is the only jazz musician who constructs his music on the Fibonacci sequence of numbers introduced by the Medieval Italian mathematician. Safe that is, if Iyer didn’t credit saxophonist Steve Coleman with giving him the idea years ago. Maybe Coleman got it from Bartók (e.g., “Music For Strings, Percussion and Celesta”). Whether Iyer’s ascendency in jazz can be credited to his mathematical expertise and intellectual romance with numbers is beside the point. What counts is the effectiveness of the music. On some of the pieces here, Iyer, bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore avoid the boredom of repetition by overlaying sheer lyricism. In Thelonious Monk’s “Work,” Coltrane’s “Countdown,” Iyer’s own “Wrens” and “Break Stuff,” and his langorous unaccompanied solo on Billy Strayhorn’s “Blood Count,” boredom is unlikely.