Holding It Down: The Veterans' Dreams Project
by Vijay Iyer
Released: Sep 2013
Label: Pi Recordings
Projects like this -- Iyer's third oratorio-style collaboration with poet Mike Ladd -- are partly why the pianist got a MacArthur "genius" grant. Crossing boundaries between classical, jazz, hip-hop and post-rock, this song cycle is driven by the memories of real-life War on Terror veterans (check the drone pilot exit-interview "Capacity"). A trio of tracks with Downtown composer Pamela Z on lead vocals ("There is a Man..." "REM Killer" and "Mess Hall") are highlights, too. And Iyer has a bit of room to improvise, on tracks like "Requiem for an Insomniac." Listen hard to the lyrics and dig in.
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