Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Bad Plus Interviews 2017: Introduction

The Bad Plus at the Dakota on December 22, 2017
Photo (C) 2017 John Whiting

On April 10, 2017, The Bad Plus – bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer Dave King – surprised a lot of people by posting this on the band’s Facebook page and website:

A message from The Bad Plus to our fans and followers: We will soon begin an exciting new chapter in our life as a band. As of January 1, 2018, The Bad Plus will consist of founding members Reid Anderson (bass) and Dave King (drums) and new member Orrin Evans (piano). Original pianist Ethan Iverson will finish out the 2017 touring schedule in support of the album “Its Hard,” culminating in a New Years Eve gig at the Village Vanguard in New York City. 
The Bad Plus have always been a band in the truest sense a group of passionate collaborators with no single leader. That spirit will continue in full-force as we welcome Orrin into the group. This is not an act of replacement; no tryouts were held. Weve known and respected Orrin as a musician and as a person for longer than The Bad Plus has existed. His heart and his talents are simply a perfect match to continue our trajectory.  
A brand-new album featuring the refreshed lineup will be recorded this fall for release in 2018, with a supporting tour cycle to follow. The Bad Plus’ extensive songbook will continue to be represented at shows. We remain grateful to our supporters and invite you along with new listeners to be an integral part of our evolution and the exciting music it’s sure to deliver.

The band’s touring schedule for the rest of the year included its usual annual Christmas residency (for 18 years) at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis, followed by its usual New Year’s residency at the Village Vanguard in New York City.

Although the band will continue as The Bad Plus with Orrin Evans at the piano, Ethan Iverson’s leaving signals the end of an era. I wrote about that – and the band’s history, music, and impact on jazz – for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, in an article published on December 14, the Sunday before they came to the Dakota. I spoke with Reid, Ethan and Dave at length, and also with Lowell Pickett, owner of the Dakota, and Philip Bither, performing arts curator for the Walker Art Center, who knows contemporary music, knows the band and featured them several times over the years, mostly recently in a Walker commission with Bill Frisell.

Because I could use only brief quotes in the print article, I’m including the full interviews here, edited for clarity, minus chit-chat and off-the-record material. I’ve been listening to The Bad Plus, attending their concerts, buying their albums and following them almost from the start. I saw this as a moment in the life of a great piano trio that deserved a close look. Conducted immediately after they returned from an intense European tour in early December 2017 and just before they came to Minneapolis, these interviews are for the record.


The Bad Plus Interviews 2017: Reid Anderson
The Bad Plus interviews 2017: Ethan Iverson
The Bad Plus Interviews 2017: Dave King
The Bad Plus Interviews 2017: Lowell Pickett (Dakota Jazz Club)
The Bad Plus Interviews 2017: Philip Bither (Walker Art Center)

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