Saturday, April 15, 2023

Love in Exile - Vijay Iyer, Arooj Aftab, Shahzad Ismaily @ Strathmore 04/13/2023

Like a Sirocco that emanates from warm dry air, the trio led by Vijay Iyer arrived at the Strathmore Music Hall on an unusually warm Spring evening.

Vijay Iyer laid down the musical bed with piano, Fender Rhodes, and synthesizer on which Arooj Aftab layered her vocals of middle eastern origin. Shahzad Ismaily provided mysterious bass tones from his electric bass while supplementing the music with a mini-Moog synthesizer.

With subdued lighting and the superb acoustics of Strathmore, it lulled the audience into a trance meditation of ethereal sounds.

Arooj Aftab was the only one to speak between songs but said little about the context and origins of this almost otherworldly music.

The hall was partially filled perhaps because their Love in Exile album was only released a couple of weeks ago. I bought a ticket without hearing the album based on the reputation of Vijay Iyer. This music deserves a wider audience.