Q&A: Vijay Iyer on jazz, privileged prodigies, and “Indian-American”

Part of what takes up my free time these days is The Ethnic Aisle: a GTA-based race/diversity blog that touches on stories, ideas, and voices lacking in the region’s mainstream media. I pitched a brief profile on Vijay Iyer to two major city publications, thinking (possibly naively) that it’d be a shoo-in diversity story—especially since Iyer’s gained quite a bit of traction over the past year. Sensing maybe that it’d get turned down I focused much of the conversation to ideas of identity and race within the jazz world and Iyer happily obliged. In the end, the quite long, but so NECESSARY, Q&A turned out and was published exactly how I wanted it to be—unedited and uninhibited.