“Epistrophy” evolves Monk’s sound: it wanders and floats, occasionally becoming the lines of notes you identify as the song… it goes when and where it wants… it shows you freedom in sound…wonderful….
“Darn That Dream” wanders in and out of splitsville– not quite sure if it’s Guaraldi or Monk, or just Iyer….
“Black and Tan Fantasy,” the Ellington number, manages to sound heavy and solemn… like marche funabre… Chopin (even more) maudlin and gone… wonderful, wandering… illuminated… we even end with Chopin, somehow via Liszt….
“Autoscopy,” Cecil Taylor? More percussion that piano. At around 4:00, it slows, pensive, though still wanting to drum like one of Frazier‘s ancient tribes, and manages to convey meaning and emotion without melody.
“Patterns,” another original (besides the two previous) is just that: a percussive pattern of notes imitating the hits of a drum… no real melody (where it is melodic, tense yet maudlin), but evocative.
Next non-cover: “Desiring,” regretful somehow, bittersweet…? A retrospective of that relationship now over… with no new information why, and no satisfying conclusions….
“Fleurette Africaine,” starts solemn, pensive, brooding, quietly angry, resentful, even…. Iyer seems to make much more clear of an impression when interpreting others’ work….
“One for Blount” closes… percussion and melody finally meeting, to some extent, yet not really hitting it off….
The covers are great. Otherwise…?
Frustrating, like a physicist with half of the formulas for cold fusion and light without heat….