Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Shahzad Ismaily – “To Remain / To Return”

Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Shahzad Ismaily – “To Remain / To Return”

Arooj Aftab, jazz pianist Vijay Iyer, and multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily (who is also on Feist’s forthcoming Multitudes) are announcing a collaborative album, Love In Exile, out March 24 on Verve Records. In tandem with the album announce, the trio are sharing a lead single today called “To Remain / To Return.”

Recorded live in a New York City studio, Love In Exile features Iyer on piano and electronics, Ismaily on bass and Moog synth, and Aftab on vocals. “Our music is a process,” says Iyer. “This fragment of ‘To Remain / To Return’ reveals not just the melody but the birth of a song. I hear Shahzad and myself establishing these haunted cycles, then slowly and delicately transforming them, as Arooj glides across like a dark moon.”

Aftab adds: “This piece holds, at its core, the delicately unfolding emotion of separation anxiety induced fury (see: love, self exile) between two people who are deeply connected. One is leaving and the other is asking them to stay. The former is saying ‘I will leave but I will also return’; in better form for the both of us.”

Ismaily chimes in: “We all provide the best we can. In my case it’s euclidean rhythms, crystals to hold the oceanic beauty of Vijay’s keys and the silent raven of Arooj’s voice. We grow to the company that we keep; I am both fortunate and grateful.”

Of the album as a whole, Iyer says, “This project is so dear to me. Making music with Arooj and Shahzad is nothing less than an out-of-body experience. Even though I’m right there in it, I find myself witnessing the music as if from above. I’m weirdly in awe of our unhurried, mysterious creations; they seem to arrive fully formed from somewhere else. I can’t wait for everyone to hear, feel, and live with this record.”

Aftab also adds of Love In Exile, “Vijay and Shahzad were so locked into each other, and it was unclear whether they were doing what I was doing or I was doing what they were doing. We were like a school of fish.”

Listen to “To Remain / To Return” below.

01 “To Remain/To Return”
02 “Haseen Thi”
03 “Shadow Forces”
04 “Sajni”
05 “Eyes Of The Endless”
06 “Sharabi”
07 “To Remain/To Return (Excerpt)” (Digital Only)

03/31 — Knoxville, TN @ Big Ears Music Festival
04/14 — North Bethesda, MD @ Strathmore — The Music Center
04/28 — Burlington, VT @ UVM Recital Hall
05/07 — Krems an der Donau, AT — Donau Festival, Minoritenkirche
05/09 — Brussels, BE @ Les Nuits Botanique Festival, Notre Dame Church
05/11 — Luxembourg, LU @ Neimënster
05/13 — Berlin, DE @ XJAZZ! Festival, Emmauskirche
05/25 — Hamburg, DE @ Elbphilharmonie
05/29 — Zurich, CH @ Moods
05/30 — Utrecht, NL @ Tivoli Vredenburg
06/02 — London, UK @ Barbican Centre
06/26 — Vancouver, BC @ Vancouver Jazz Festival
06/28 — Ottawa, ON @ Ottawa Jazz Festival
06/29 — Montreal, PQ @ Montreal Jazz Festival
07/27 — North Adams, MA @ Bang on a Can’s: LOUD WEEKEND 2023 at Mass MoCA
07/29 — Katonah, NY @ Caramoor Center for the Arts
09/14 — New York, NY @ Venue TBA
09/19 — San Diego, CA @ Epstein Family Amphitheatre
09/20 — Los Angeles, CA @ Venue TBA
09/21 — San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
09/28 — Tempe, AZ @ Tempe Center for the Arts
09/29 — Austin, TX @ Venue TBA
09/30 — Denver, CO @ Venue TBA
10/04 — Cleveland, OH @ Gartner Auditorium At The Cleveland Museum Of Art
10/05 — Princeton, NJ @ Venue TBA
10/07 — Blacksburg, VA @ Venue TBA
10/08 — Boston, MA @ Institute Of Contemporary Art
10/10 — Minneapolis, MN @ The Cedar
10/11 — Chicago, IL @ Venue TBA
10/12 — Iowa City, IA @ Infinite Dream Festival

Love In Exile is out 3/24 via Verve.

Ebru Yildiz

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