Jazz picks: Vijay Iyer, Brad Mehldau with the Bad Plus and more

Vijay Iyer
Jazz pianist Vijay Iyer offers two more sides of his musical personality at UCLA this weekend.

A selection of jazz and jazz-adjacent shows coming this weekend.

Vijay Iyer: ‘Music of Transformation’ at UCLA

One of the most inventive and exciting jazz pianists working today, 2013 MacArthur Grant winner Vijay Iyer continues to redraw the boundaries of jazz while incorporating influences that stretch from Billy Strayhorn to L.A. beat alchemist Flying Lotus.

With an invigorating new trio album promised in 2015, Iyer presents two more sides of his musical personality with a two-part performance offering the electronics and string-accented classical-tilted piece “Mutations I-X” and the multimedia piece “Radhe Radhe,” which draws from the Hindu Holi festival with inspiration from Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.”


Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, Royce Hall. $19-$59, Friday, 8 p.m.

Brad Mehldau Trio, the Bad Plus

A meeting of two forces pushing the jazz tradition forward, this double bill of the Bad Plus with Brad Mehldau offers a vivid snapshot of the capabilities of the piano trio. Backed by a rhythm section of Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard, Mehldau memorably has looked toward the likes of Radiohead and Rammstein for inside-out jazz workouts to complement intricate originals.

The Bad Plus similarly built an early reputation on deconstructions of alt-rock favorites by the likes of the Pixies and Aphex Twin, but in 2014 the group has continued to blaze a unique path with an album of originals, “Inevitable Western,” and a daring reimagining of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.”


Valley Performing Arts Center, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. $30-$60, Saturday, 8 p.m.

Dave Holland with Kenny Barron, Ron Carter’s Golden Striker Trio

In a year marked by inspired duet releases, this combination of pianist Kenny Barron and bassist Dave Holland was among the most rewarding. The duo’s aptly named new album, “The Art of Conversation,” could just as easily been named in tribute to listening as the two veteran talents combine on classics from the jazz songbook for a lush, intricate listen. The concert marks the second of two weekend concerts hosted by Jazz Bakery, with the first, featuring a trio led by bassist Ron Carter at Zipper Concert Hall on Saturday, just as worthy of a listen.

The Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles. $40, Sunday, 8 p.m.

Want to read more in 140-character bursts? Follow me over @chrisbarton.

Get our daily Entertainment newsletter