July 19, 2007 06:00 ET

Vijay Iyer Tops Two "Rising Star" Categories in 55th Annual Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll

"Rising Star Jazz Artist," "Rising Star Composer"

SANTA MONICA, CA--(Marketwire - July 19, 2007) - Savoy Jazz is proud to announce that pianist Vijay Iyer has topped two categories in Downbeat Magazine's 55th Annual Critics Poll. The distinctive solo artist, composer and collaborator was named top "Rising Star Jazz Artist" and top "Rising Star Composer of the Year" for the second year in a row. The 36-year-old musician is best known for leading his quartet on projects such as "Blood Sutra" and his Savoy Jazz debut "Reimagining," which the Chicago Tribune described as "Epic -- one of the most promising voices in jazz today." Recent Savoy Jazz projects include "Raw Materials," a duo recording with longtime collaborator saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa released in 2006 and "Still Life With Commentator," a collaboration between Iyer and poet/lyricist Mike Ladd. Savoy Jazz released the companion CD to the Brooklyn Academy of Music's production of "Still Life With Commentator" in March of 2007.

On the Savoy Jazz release "Raw Materials," the duo's intelligent melodies and harmonies reflect their common perspectives and contrasting dispositions. Already considered on the cutting edge of the jazz vanguard, Raw Materials is another step forward for two of the most promising new musical voices. James Hale in Downbeat notes: "Like close friends who finish each other's sentences, they exchange musical ideas with an organic-sounding second sense."

In the Fall of 2006, Vijay joined poet/rapper Mike Ladd for a second collaboration titled "Still LifeWith Commentator." Their first collaboration, "In What Language" turned the jazz and performance art communities on its ear with their fresh presentation of musical ideas, political manifesto, and hip hop sensibility. In conjunction with the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the staging talents of Ibrahim Quereshi, the "Still Life" production had its world premiere at BAM in December. Nate Chinen from the New York Times described it as "elegiac and sardonic... a swirl of ominous textures and hypnotic rhythms... it draws you in."

Savoy Jazz is a unit of the Savoy Label Group (SLG). SLG is the North American unit of CME (Columbia Music Entertainment), the oldest music company in Japan. The Savoy Label Group is lead by Steve Vining. CME is headed by Chairman Strauss Zelnick, founder of Zelnick Media. Zelnick Media owns interests in and manages an array of media companies including music-related holdings such as CME, Savoy Label Group and Time Life.

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