The Bad Plus Joshua Redman
@ the Love Supreme Jazz Festival
4 July 2015
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In 2011, The Bad Plus invited saxophonist Joshua Redman to join
them for a week of enthusiastically received performances at the
Blue Note in New York City. They then played a handful of dates
before heading into the studio last year to record their debut album,
“The Bad Plus Joshua Redman,” which Nonesuch Records
released in May 26, 2015.
The Bad Plus is a jazz trio from the United States, consisting
of pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer Dave
King, originating from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Bad Plus came together at the end of the 20th century and
has avoided easy categorisation ever since, garnering critical acclaim
and a legion of fans worldwide with their creativity, idiosyncratic
personality, and flair for live performance. Based in New York City,
the deeply collaborative trio constantly searches for rules to break
and boundaries to cross, bridging genres and techniques while exploring
infinite possibilities of three exceptional musicians working in
“This is a band with three leaders,” Iverson
says. “No single person has the final say. The stuff that
gets played at gigs and makes it onto the records has been vetted
by three very opinionated guys - and that keeps the music fresh.
This is a fairly unique thing in the improvisational music landscape.”
The Bad Plus has a well-earned reputation for daring deconstruction,
pushing the limits on what is expected of a piano-bass-drums trio.
The past 15 years have seen the genre-smashing band creating a distinctive
repertoire of inventive and exciting original music, along with
iconoclastic covers of artists as divergent as Nirvana and Neil
Young, Aphex Twin and Ornette Coleman. Earlier this year, the acclaimed
trio took on one of the most influential works of the 20th century,
Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” (Sony Masterworks).
“The Rite of Spring” took a lot of thought and
energy,” says Anderson. “The next project definitely
needed to be a set of original music.”
Produced by The Bad Plus at The Terrarium in Minneapolis in the
winter of 2014, “Inevitable Western” carries on the
trio’s commitment to what they’ve dubbed ‘avant-garde
populism’ - the idea that serious music can be as engaging
and accessible as it is forward-thinking and provocative. New pieces
like Iverson’s odd time romp, “Mr. Now” and Anderson’s
polyrhythmic “I Hear You” are lithe and inventive while
never veering so far out into the wilderness as to lose their melodic
purpose and human heart.
King suggests The Bad Plus is a “mixed media band at
heart,” noting, “We have conversations which
are so stimulating as if we’re in an art salon. I’ve
never experienced that in other bands. In The Bad Plus, we’ll
talk about a conductor or symphony for hours and then switch over
to muscle car films from the 60s. In our music, we believe high
and low can be mixed together without seeming precious.”
A genuinely leaderless trio, The Bad Plus is equal in every respect,
from composition to performance to production. The interplay between
these collaborators has marked the group’s work from the jump,
infusing it with carefully considered spontaneity, subtlety, style,
“There’s still tons to do,” says King.
“We feel every record we put out is better than the last
- and when that stops, that’s when we take a long look at
Biography edited by Robin Francis
for Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.