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Vysual Notes (June 25th 2010)

Vy Drouin Le
Contributing Writer

Intro - Sketches of Miles - Art Gallery Opening 6/25

MFJ founder, Alain Simard, opened his speech by proudly presenting a print edition of a unique drawing by Miles Davis, “Chariot of Gods.” (main photo – print 52/300) Miles was known to often sketch on the road, and when hundreds of his drawings were found in the late 1980s, one was given to Simard. Describing how the musician’s rhythm and gesture translate in his sketches from everywhere, Simard emphasized the importance of the relationship between jazz and the visual arts. In that sense, Vysual Notes bring a new perspective to with a focus on the visual experience in music.

Other artists featured at the outdoor Galerie du Festival (Maisonneuve/de Bleury) include Yves Archambault, official MFJ artist for 23 years now, Corno, Zïlon, Tshi, Lhasa De Sela, Miyuki Tanobe and many others.


[Listen to Vijay Iyer in the Nextplayer]

Speaking art+music, what a coincidence. We met Vijay in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Sunglasses on. Second Cup coffee in hand. Well-chosen black outfit, blue shirt, and leather kicks. The young star looked composed and sophisticated. He was chill, friendly, and ready for a quick interview with NEXTBOP and a couple songs at the Planete Jazz Lounge. He was the first one to test the spotless Steinway & Sons piano displayed in the tent. Lucky were those to see and hear, but not many people had that chance. People would As Vijay said, and I’ll add the “unfortunately” that was present in his sarcastic but not annoyed tone, he was playing a duet with the giant piano in the children playground! Picture the contrast: a great talent, all in black, on a large black piano in a white tent, facing colorful inflatable games and children bouncing, not to Vijay’s masterful fingerwork but to their own play-time voices. Unfortunate. But Vijay didn’t say much about it, thanked us, and moved on to his two main shows.

In the dark and intimate Chapelle Historique du Bon Pasteur, the venue is full. Of people, and of a general feeling of impatience and admiration. He walks on the dark wooden stage framed by the old chapel’s columns, once again, humble and relaxed. A listener doesn’t need to be aware that Mr. Iyer, Ph.D., has an impressive resume to understand that his talent, technique and originality are extraordinay. Another interesting contrast - fortunate this time: a young innovative mind playing daring material in a place filled with a religious aura of the past. Above Vijay’s fast hands hangs a chandelier. He starts with “Patterns.” From his precise control of dynamics emerges a scientific vibe, almost making the room a cosmos filled with mathematical equations. In an hour, he makes the inaccessible accessible. And in the end, he sends off the public with an original variation on Imagine. He concludes with a comment that resembled “go on, you have a busy week of music ahead of you.”

22:30, Gesu
Vijay opens his trio show later that night with the same sense of humor, commenting on the “not an actual human” that introduced the “humans on stage.” The chemistry is there. Between the three members, and with the crowd. Vijay is sitting on the very left end of his piano bench and his organic body and finger language dialogue with expressive bow moves and controlled drum beats of