AIR at Molde Jazz 2017: Vijay Iyer, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny x 3 m.fl.

Vijay Iyer is the Artist In Residence, Pat Metheny performs in three concerts with Norwegian musicians, and Herbie Hancock comes with new project to Molde Jazz 2017! 

The innovative pianist Vijay Iyer will be this year's Artist In Residence and will perform in five shows, including an exciting collaboration with the Norwegian Cikada Quartet. Pat Metheny will collaborate in three concerts with Norwegian partners; trio concert with Arild Andersen and Gard Nilssen, club night with Jaga Jazzist and a grand concert in Bjørnsonhuset with Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. In addition, Moldejazz presents an exciting new project - Ladies! with vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant and last but not the least comes jazz ambassador and piano legend Herbie Hancock with a new project.

Vijay Iyer & Mike Ladd  -  Holding it Down: Veterans' Dreams Project
Although Vijay Iyer is primarily known for his distinctive style of modern jazz, he has often worked with other expressions, which in turn has allowed him to make his mark in the more jazz-related music. Iyer has also had a long collaboration with producer, DJ, rapper and poet Mike Ladd. This has resulted in three albums with socially engaged and politically charged themes. The latest project, "Holding It Down: Veterans' Dreams Project", discusses war veterans and more specifically veterans of color and their experiences, thoughts and dreams of the wars they have been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The lyrics on the album were written by real war veterans and some of these texts were penned single-handedly by two veterans, ex-Marine and now poet Maurice Decaul and former soldier in the US air force, Lynn Hill. The result is poignant, sobering and frightening, but also filled with hope. The music is performed by Iyer with crossover jazz musicians and we can experience jazz's flexibility and spontaneity in a distinctive encounter with hip-hop inspired beats and electronic input, which in turn becomes a fascinating platform for vocal performances. It will be a different and exciting opening concert at the Jazz in 2017. 

Viyay Iyer & Craig Taborn
Duo format is something jazz listeners have experienced in many shapes and forms, but they rarely get to hear an improvisational collaboration between two pianists. In this case, the two pianists, brought together for their interest in improvisation and composition with broad palette, are two outstanding representatives of piano jazz at present. Craig Taborn was born in 1970 in Minneapolis, and since the beginning of the 1990s has been a central part of New York's jazz scene with organ, synths and piano as his instruments. Since 2011 he has been working along with Vijay Iyer as he recorded music for ECM, partly as a solo pianist and with his own trio.  

Vijay Iyer & Wadada Leo Smith
When Vijay Iyer and the exceptional trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith - who visited the Jazz with his first concert ever in Norway last summer - collaborated to record A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke for ECM, it was not the first time they had worked together. Iyer calls the 30-year old Leo Smith his "hero, friend and mentor," and he also played in Leo Smith's Golden Quartet for a period of time before his career took off. It is thus easy to see that these two have a special mutual understanding of each other when they play together. Their music is impressionistic and meditative, but also fascinating and captivating. The release was very well received when it came out last spring and was in the top 10 in NPR's 2016 Jazz Critics Poll, and there were a lot of talks about the concerts they held together afterwards, the latest being an European tour in January 2017.
Vijay Iyer Sextet
Vijay Iyer's main platform has for some time been the trio format with piano, bass and drums, with his current lineup, but Iyer has repeatedly expanded this format when he works on musical ideas that require expansion, and in live concerts, he often uses a sparkling sextet, that beyond the trio includes, trumpeter Graham Haynes, the Jamaica-born tenor saxophonist Mark Shim and not least Steve Lehman on alto saxophonist. When the sextet perfrom in Molde, it will be with batteristfenomenet Tyshawn Sorey instead of Gilmore on drums. This will give the sextet a nuance, since Iyer with Sorey and Lehman have long played together as an outstanding trio Fieldwork. It is thus possible that many opportunities may emerge for interaction, crossovers and clever and surprising suggestions within as well as gathered in this ensemble, and it will be a unique opportunity to hear Iyer in a more expansive format than he has toured with in Europe in recent years.

Vijay Iyer & The Cikada String Quartet
In 2014 Vijay Iyer's first release under his own name on ECM with a subtitle Mutation - for string quartet, piano and electronics. The project is clearly driven by his fascination for mathematical patterns, the freedom that lies in piano improvisation, and also his past experience as a chamber violinist. Mutations engages classical oriented and jazz lovers alike, and when Cikada Quartet perform strykeoppgaven, we are guaranteed a precision and nerve which in itself is worth the moment. "Mutations I-X" from the Mutations - album with the piece  "Time, Place, Action" that Vijay Iyer has performed earlier with the Brentano String Quartet will be performed at this years Moldejazz fesival. . The concert at Teatret Vårt on Saturday, 22 July will be an exciting finale to Iyer's residency.
  The concert Pat Metheny performed with Norwegian star bassist Arild Andersen and Paal Nilssen-Love on MoldeJazz  2001 was one for the history books. When Arild was asked to do a new concert with Metheny during the festival, he immediately recommended drummer Gard Nilssen Andersen have he had played a lot together over the past year, both in a trio and sextet. This is a trio that's certainly going to be electrifying!

Pat Metheny & Jaga Jazzist
Jaga Jazzist is a musical collective from Vestfold which has become an internationally acclaimed band. They have worked purposefully and hard for more than twenty years and have built up a large fan base in Norway and around the world with their unique music. The band's creative and seamless blend of acoustic and electronic is still perceived as new and exciting as when the band got their breakthrough in 2001. Pat Metheny and Jaga Jazzist undoubtedly share a gift for searching further and welding together elements and sounds from different genres and creating their very own expression. Both have managed to create their own musical universe, a universe that is both compelling, challenging and takes the audience on a journey. We look forward to hearing what they can achieve together. 

Pat Metheny og Trondheim Jazzorkester
Trondheim Jazz Orchestra is a great band with a changing crew who constantly offer exciting albums and riveting concert to outstanding reviews. The orchestra played with Metheny in 2001 when he was the Artist In Residence and in 2003 the collaboration followed up with a Norway Tour. This year Metheny would be thrilled to perform with Trondheim JAzzorkester again, as a new arrangement written by Erik Hegdal and Ole Morten Vågan will be premiered during the concert in Bjørnsonhuset. This will definitely be a highlight!
Ladies! is a very exciting project with seven leading musicians fronted by the charismatic vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant who won the Grammy for best jazz album in 2015 and for best vocal jazz album in 2016.
The other member are Anat Cohen (clarinet), Melissa Aldana (sax), Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), Noriko Ueda (bass), Allison Miller (drums) and Renee Rosnes (piano and producer). The band presents an eclectic repertoire characterized by carefully selected standard tunes.

Herbie Hancock
On 19th of July, jazz ambassador and piano legend Herbie Hancock will be back to MoldeJazz and Bjørnsonhuset with a brand new project! Hancock has recently geared himself more toward the younger, modern generation of musicians, collaborators and producers, and this is also reflected in the crew. He has with him the saxophonist and keyboardist Terrace Martin who is also a well-known producer. On drums, he has Vinnie Colaiuta, known from countless collaboration with world music pioneers such as Frank Zappa, Joni Mitchell etc. On bass he has James Genus and on guitar he has West African Lionel Loueke. The latter allows for a wider musical expression, which Hancock talks about in connection with his upcoming release, in which Loueke also contributes. This is a new project from an obviously engaged Hancock, and although we do not know the details of the new music, there is no doubt that Hancock and his star crew will guarantee a major concert event. 

The following artists have previously confirmed to Molde Jazz 2017:
Terje Rypdal - Conspiracy, Monks Casino, Enrico Rava - Tomasz Stanko 5ET, Sigvart Dagsland with Tord Gustavsen, Aurora, Sondre Justad, Moon Hooch and Harald Lassen New Quartet.