Vijay Iyer’s ‘Open City’ Performance Reviewed

English: The Vijay Iyer Quartet performed an i...
English: The Vijay Iyer Quartet performed an intense and spirited set of music as part of the Albright-Knox’s Art of Jazz series 3/16/08. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The first striking thing about “Open City,” Vijay Iyer’s large-ensemble suite heard twice over the weekend at Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University here, wasn’t sound but a kind of theory of possibility suggested by the sight of the 20 people onstage. Here were 18 musicians who weren’t typical large-ensemble players, but bandleaders, individual voices, thinkers. Here, too, was the Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole — author of the recent novel from which the work’s title was borrowed — and the rapper Himanshu Suri, or Heems, formerly of the hip-hop group Das Racist.