Iyer, Taborn Build Something Majestic on New ECM Album

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Craig Tabor (left) and Vijay Iyer pay tribute to artists and pianists who recently have passed on Transitory Poems.

(Photo: Monica Jane Frisell/ECM Records)

Iyer: Because the two-piano problem has basically been solved already. We’ve had centuries of that. Stravinsky and Stockhausen have dealt with that.

You just want people to think orchestrationally and compositionally—one of the things we learned from Roscoe. [to Taborn] I remember you described early on “a strategy of avoidance.” One of Roscoe’s pet peeves is when people follow each other. That has a way of bogging things down. It means you’re second-guessing someone and not really contributing to the music. Then it becomes more about how you tune into these different streams of information and hear it all as counterpoint, rather than try to play each other’s shit back at them.

But then there are moments where we just merge. It’s beyond imitation: We’re building this thing and we’re reinforcing something. Then it’s actually more orchestrational.

Taborn: Absolutely. That kind of coincidence occurs through a process of actually thinking the same way, not that I’m listening to Vijay and then aping his thing. It’s like, “Oh, we’ve arrived at that because there is some synchronicity in our ...”

Iyer: Process.

Taborn: Our process. That’s a wonderful thing. That’s not following, by definition. It’s something else [laughs]. DB

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June 2021
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