Seated at a Steinway grand piano in a dark, intimate room in early March, Vijay Iyerwasn’t simply playing another gig.
Aficionados in attendance could recognize a loose medley of familiar jazz themes, including Wayne Shorter’s “ Nefertiti” and Billy Strayhorn’s “Chelsea Bridge.” Mostly, Mr. Iyer and his duet partner, tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, issued an unbroken and largely abstract flow, moving easily from dense dissonances to languid melodies.
Musically, the scene wasn’t unlike Mr. Iyer’s performances at any number of Manhattan jazz clubs and concert halls. Except here, the listeners were gathered in a small gallery behind the lobby of the Met Breuer, the celebrated five-story hulk of a building that serves as the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new outpost for modern and contemporary art.
The audience was witnessing the first installment of “Relation,” a performance residency showcasing Mr. Iyer, who is equally distinguished as a pianist, composer and educator. His ongoing performances open to the general public Friday and run through the end of the month.
“It’ll be my day gig,” said Mr. Iyer, in an interview at his Harlem home. “It’s almost like having an office.” Continue reading “Vijay Iyer's New Day Gig at the Met Breuer”