The Bad Plus performing at the Village Vanguard. John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com hide caption

toggle caption
John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

The Bad Plus performing at the Village Vanguard.

John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

The Bad Plus in Concert on Toast Of The Nation 2009

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/122131922/122145837" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

It's no use pretending that The Bad Plus' reverently outre re-imaginings of pop hits aren't a crucial part of the band's wide appeal. For its latest record, For All I Care, the trio even asked rock singer Wendy Lewis to join in the fun, completing a transition to a peculiar sort of jazz-inflected cover band. But for their New Year's Eve bash at the Village Vanguard, Ethan Iverson, Reid Anderson and Dave King are again but three on stage. And they executed a set of mostly original compositions — none of 'em rock tunes either. The Bad Plus counted down to midnight in the Eastern Time Zone on a performance recorded live for Toast Of The Nation and made available as a live video Webcast.

Longtime fans were treated to material that has yet to surface on record — newer tunes by all three band members. But The Bad Plus also dipped into its expanding repertory, which includes pieces first drafted by Ornette Coleman and Gyorgy Ligeti. (Mention of the latter drew unexpected hoots from fans of the composer.) The trio's orientation permits pianist Ethan Iverson to play his happily weird self, with power chords or trinkling tinkles between his spoken introductions. Reid Anderson is as bold on the upright bass as he is deft as a composer, and Dave King — soon to release a solo piano-and-percussion album — drums with a manic temperament, keeping things merrily rollicking along.

It's fitting that The Bad Plus ushered in a new decade: Keen jazz observers would be hard-pressed to imagine the last 10 years without them. The group reached ubiquity in the jazz world, and broke through to other audiences, with its first major release, 2003's These Are The Vistas. Since then, it's recorded a steady stream of new original works, while mining the vast well of pop music, late 20th century jazz and the odd contemporary classical interlude.

The trio has toured the world steadily since its first breakthrough, playing the jazz club circuit as frequently as it hits rock halls and festival stages. But in New York, it's a favorite draw at the relatively tiny Village Vanguard. It wasn't be the first Bad Plus New Year's Eve at the club either — apropos for a band that's always plied both festive humor and crackling talent.

Set List

  • "You Are" (Anderson)
  • "And Here We Test Our Powers of Observation" (Anderson)
  • "Bill Hickman at Home" (Iverson)
  • "Who's He?" (Iverson)
  • "People Like You" (Anderson)
  • "Song X" (Ornette Coleman)
  • "Metal" (Gyorgy Ligeti)
  • "My Friend Metatron" (King)
  • "Dirty Blonde" (Anderson)
  • "Layin' A Strip For The Higher Self-State Line" (King)
  • "Auld Lang Syne" (Traditional)
  • "Physical Cities" (Anderson)

Personnel

  • Ethan Iverson, piano
  • Reid Anderson, bass
  • David King, drums
[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

2017 NEA Jazz Masters Dave Holland, Dick Hyman, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Dr. Lonnie Smith (not pictured: Ira Gitler) at the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters Awards Dinner, sponsored by BMI, on April 2, 2017. Yassine El Mansouri/Courtesy of the Kennedy Center hide caption

toggle caption Yassine El Mansouri/Courtesy of the Kennedy Center

Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

The 2017 NEA Jazz Masters, In Their Own Words

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Hear how the artists honored by the NEA this year — Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Dave Holland, Dick Hyman and Ira Gitler — earned their stripes and paid their jazz dues.

The 2017 NEA Jazz Masters, In Their Own Words

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/524881192/524881250" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Trudy Pitts performs on this week's Piano Jazz. Andrew Lepley/Redferns/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Andrew Lepley/Redferns/Getty Images

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Trudy Pitts On Piano Jazz

The organist performs Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo" with Marian McPartland in this 1992 session.

Trudy Pitts On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/515756064/515756319" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Barry Harris is featured in this episode of Piano Jazz. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Barry Harris On Piano Jazz

The seminal jazz pianist and educator joined host Marian McPartland in the fall of 2002.

Piano Jazz: 2/3/2017

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/513227454/513227735" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Loston Harris. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Loston Harris On Piano Jazz

The singer and pianist performs "Do Nothing 'Til You Hear From Me" with host Marian McPartland.

Loston Harris On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/507397417/507539522" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

André Previn. Harald Hoffmann/Deutsche Grammophon hide caption

toggle caption Harald Hoffmann/Deutsche Grammophon

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

André Previn On Piano Jazz

The conductor, composer and pianist plays a special treatment of "Stormy Weather" in a 1990 session.

André Previn On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/506487969/506720784" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Patti Wicks. Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Patti Wicks On Piano Jazz

Hear the pianist and singer join Marian McPartland for a duet version of "Body And Soul."

Patti Wicks On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/505874280/505875288" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top