Vijay Iyer
Credit: Ebru Yildiz

The creative and intellectual spheres of Eve Ewing and Vijay Iyer are so expansive they’re pretty much impossible to abbreviate. So the news that Iyer is in town for the pandemic-deferred premiere of his musical suite inspired by Ewing’s writing, Ghosts Everywhere I Go, should inspire eager anticipation and knowing nods. Ewing and Iyer are both renowned artists and academics: Ewing is a poet and writer who teaches sociology at the University of Chicago, and Iyer is a scientist turned composer and pianist who teaches at Harvard, where he founded a doctoral program in the music department called Creative Practice and Critical Inquiry. Iyer’s restless, lyrical musical idiom is both concrete and visionary, like a skyline whose beautiful geometries are filled in with bright colors. It’s a snug fit with Ewing’s work, including her poetry collections, 2017’s Electric Arches and 2019’s 1919, and the Marvel comic series for which she writes, Ironheart; her fantastical urban imaginings face toward the future but sit upon history’s high perch. Iyer’s new suite dips into that material, but as its title implies, it’s inspired primarily by Ewing’s Ghosts in the Schoolyard, a 2018 nonfiction study of the catastrophic closure of 49 Chicago public schools under the mayoral administration of Rahm Emanuel. He especially zeroes in on her mentions of violinist and educator Captain Walter Dyett, who built up a south-side musical dynasty while teaching band and orchestra at Wendell Phillips Academy and DuSable High School. For this performance of Ghosts Everywhere I Go, Iyer will lead a juggernaut septet: flutist Nicole Mitchell, guitarist Jeff Parker, vibraphonist Joel Ross, bassist Nick Dunston, drummer Jeremy Dutton, and vocalists Eden Girma and Julian Otis.

Vijay Iyer and friends Fri 5/6, 7:30 PM, Logan Center, 915 E. 60th, $40, $20 under 35, $10 students, all ages