His special gift for pattern and flow was unfurled in pieces like "Alaska", where alto player Rudresh Mahanthappa soloed firmly from the heart, at times flying suddenly into 'outside' tones. Meanwhile, bassist Stephan Crump played with a lyrical and open spirit and drummer Tyshawn Sorey continually asserted the music's pulse and forward motion.
In "Machine Days", the quartet broke free from the tune's stop-and-start rhythm and emerged, finally, as a series of brisk flurries between Iyer and saxophonist Mahanthappa. The piece ended starkly, with a lone staccato saxophone.
On a critical note, Iyer's piano was severely under-miked this evening, and this made it harder to appreciate his subtle music. Unfortunately, this sound problem wasn't rectified until the second set.
Vijay Iyer is working within the modern jazz tradition. To which he brings his own cultural identity, and a global mentality.