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Vijay Iyer Trio – Compassion

Compassion is the second release by the Vijay Iyer Trio, featuring Linda May Han Oh on double bass and Tyshawn Sorey on drums. The 12 tracks were recorded in May 2022 at Oktaven Audio, Mount Vernon, New York, and the album was produced by Vijay Iyer and Manfred Eicher. Compassion was released on February 2, 2024, on ECM.

Vijay Iyer Compassion ECM

Vijay Iyer, Linda May Han Oh, Tyshawn Sorey


Compassion is a stunning release on all levels. It inspires a desire to undertake magnificent, aesthetic, grandiose actions for and with others. And while it may sound exaggerated to say so, this sentiment lies at the heart of this music: inspiration.

Of course, you can listen to it as background music. It is perfectly suited for travel or for gatherings with family and guests, enhancing any atmosphere greatly. You could also delve into deeper analysis and research about the intentions behind each track. Vijay Iyer is engaged and purposeful in his actions, leaving nothing in this release without motive.

However, the three musicians, undoubtedly among the best current trios, playing together at an impressive level of mastery, create much more than this

From Uneasy (ECM, April 2024) to Compassion, the titles already paved the way. Moving from dedicating an album to expressing worry or discomfort about a particular situation, the trio now transitions—logically—to showing concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. And they do so collectively, as compassion literally means ‘to suffer together.’

In expressing themselves, inspiration is key. In the liner notes, Vijay Iyer quotes Wadada Leo Smith on this matter, discussing what it means for a piece to be “about” something:

“The key word is inspiration… Inspiration is that influx of knowledge that is being revealed, and it doesn’t require a teacher or an in between state. And the creative musician who is a composer-performer equally has an opportunity to express the inspiration that comes exactly at that moment… It’s pure; it comes straight on through…”

That is it, inspiration. The musicians convey it through their music. With clarity and purpose, they are inspired to, in turn, inspire us. And to us, this is revealed through their music, for understanding maybe, but mainly for relief, since compassion, ultimately, also leads to being motivated to alleviate suffering.

And so, following the extraordinary dynamic built on Uneasy, Compassion manages to convey it all. The music is as powerful and flamboyant as a splendid sunrise, filling your life with light, and reminding you that the world is, despite everything, a magnificent promise just waiting to come true. This album is that sun, that inspiration that will make us desire to undertake grandiose acts for us, for others, with others.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.



  1. Compassion (Vijay Iyer) 04:50
  2. Arch (Vijay Iyer) 06:13
  3. Overjoyed (Stevie Wonder) 07:52
  4. Maelstrom (Vijay Iyer) 04:36
  5. Prelude: Orison (Vijay Iyer) 03:43
  6. Tempest (Vijay Iyer) 06:24
  7. Panegyric (Vijay Iyer) 06:34
  8. Nonaah (Roscoe Mitchell) 02:32
  9. Where I Am (Vijay Iyer) 05:44
  10. Ghostrumental (Vijay Iyer) 06:38
  11. It Goes (Vijay Iyer) 03:09
  12. Free Spirits / Drummer’s Song (John Stubblefield, Geri Allen) 07:14
Linda May Han Oh Vijay Iyer Tyshawn Sorey credit Ogata ECM Records
Linda May Han Oh, Vijay Iyer, Tyshawn Sorey © Ogata / ECM Records

Compassion was released on February 2, 2024 // ECM 2760,

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