The first time I heard Vijay Iyer performing Thelonious Monk's "Epistrophy" -- the second track on his new album Solo -- I almost fell out of my chair. The improvisation builds and builds with so much intensity and emotion that it left my jaw on the ground. And his take on Duke Ellington's "Fleurette Africaine" is stunningly gorgeous. Those were the two songs that jumped out at me the first time through the record, mostly due to my familiarity with the compositions and because Vijay's take on them are so immense. I'm still wrapping my head around the rest of the record, letting it slowly seep in, as there's a ton of great ideas from one of today's finest pianist on his first solo record. Here's Vijay sharing his thoughts on the making of Solo - which comes out next week: