“Historicity” is an album by the trio of Vijay Iyer, an American jazz pianist and composer.
Vijay Iyer was born in New York in 1971 as the son of Indian immigrants. After releasing his debut album as leader, “Memorophilia” in 1995, he became known for his contemporary and intelligent music, which has been influenced by “M-Base”, a conceptual jazz movement started by Steve Coleman in the late 1980s, and has inherited the tradition of avant-garde jazz of “AACM”, an organization founded in 1965 in Chicago, centering around Roscoe Mitchell and George E. Lewis.
“Historicity” was recorded by the trio of Vijay Iyer (piano), Stephan Crump (bass), and Marcus Gilmore (drums) in 2008–2009, and was released on the ACT label in 2009.
The music is characterized by its hard touches, and complexly constructed compositions with fragmented melodies and ever-changing rhythms, including irregular meter and polyrhythm. It shows the strong influence of Andrew Hill.
Marcus Gilmore’s virtuoso drums with a sense of groove is exquisite. Stephan Crump’s bowed bass is also effective.
The album is composed of four original compositions by Iyer and six covers.
“Somewhere” is a cover of a song composed by Leonard Bernstein for the 1957 Broadway musical “West Side Story”.
“Galang (Trio Riot Version)” is a cover of “Galang” (2003), the first single by British musician M.I.A, which is included in her album “Arular” (2005).
“Smoke Stack” is a cover of the composition by Andrew Hill, which is included in his 1966 album of the same title.
“Big Brother” is a cover of the song by Stevie Wonder, which is included in his 1972 album “Talking Book”.
“Dogon A.D.” is a cover of the composition by Julius Hemphill, which is included in his 1972 album of the same title.
“Mystic Brew (Trixation Version)” is a cover of the composition “Mystic Brew” by Ronnie Foster, which is included in his 1972 album “Two Headed Freap”.
The album was selected as the Jazz Album of the Year 2009 by many magazines and papers, such as “DownBeat”, “The Village Voice”, and “The New York Times”, and was nominated for the Best Jazz Instrumental Album in the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards (2011).