Arooj Aftab / Vijay Iyer / Shahzad Ismaily
STG Presents

Arooj Aftab / Vijay Iyer / Shahzad Ismaily

September 24, 2023 | The Neptune Theatre

Event Notes

Sunday, September 24, 2023
Doors at 7:00 PM
Show at 8:00 PM

All general admission
All Ages, Bar with Valid ID

Prices start from $31.50 (not including fees)

Masks are welcomed. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms, we request that you do not attend any performances.

Backstage after their 2018 debut show in their adopted hometown of New York City, Shahzad Ismailyasked Arooj Aftab and Vijay Iyer to huddle together and reflect on what had just occurred. “We felt it fromthe first moment,” remembers Iyer. “We were mystified and almost silent and said: I don’t know what justhappened. But we should do that again.” They hadn’t prepared material in advance; the potent chemistrysurprised even these seasoned collaborators. A shared focus on collective real-time creation allowed themto weave the bass, piano, and vocals into a breathtakingly unified sound. This was music in the moment.Words couldn’t define it, but the audience felt it, and joined the emotional journey. Staying open tospontaneous co-creation became the band’s defining approach in the half dozen shows they played beforerecording their debut album.

Individually, their accolades are substantial – vocalist Arooj Aftab, the first Pakistani to win a Grammy,wows audiences worldwide with her mesmerizing live shows; MacArthur genius and Grammy nomineeVijay Iyer is one of today’s most influential pianists; multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily’s sensitivityand technical acumen has made him a legend among musicians like the late Lou Reed for whom he was asession player. Yet the marvel here is how ego disappears as the three players merge to create a singular,gorgeous sound.

One key factor is how Aftab employs her otherworldly voice as another instrument in the ensemble. “I’mmostly using the words to get the sound out,” she says. “I’m not thinking about telling a story.” The voice-as-wind-instrument gels with the synth/keys combination of Iyer and Ismaily that flow together like sunlightand shadow.

More broadly, by trusting in real-time creation – and each other – the band is able to cross-pollinatespontaneity with the accumulated wisdom of a lifetime in music. As Ismaily puts it, “I feel like we're subtlycueing listeners to say, Live like this.”

Love In Exile. Three world-class musicians meet in New York City to forge a singular voice that takes theirdistinct backgrounds and vast histories of collaboration as a starting point. From there they explore one-of-a-kind performances defined by a sense of timeless beauty and sudden surprise alike.

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The Neptune Theatre

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Seattle, WA 98105-4502