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

Cecilia Smith is Marian McPartland's guest in this episode of Piano Jazz. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Cecilia Smith On Piano Jazz

The acclaimed vibraphonist solos on "Mourning Before Grace," a piece dedicated to her mother.

Cecilia Smith On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/495170641/495179845" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Leonard Feather. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Leonard Feather On Piano Jazz

The "Dean of Jazz Journalists," also a pianist, performs original blues tunes in a 1988 session.

Leonard Feather In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/494127206/494221093" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Oliver Jones. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Oliver Jones On Piano Jazz

The Canadian pianist plays "Jordio" and "Three Little Words" in a 1990 session.

Oliver Jones In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/493257788/493262078" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Walter Davis, Jr., on the cover of Davis Cup. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Walter Davis Jr. On Piano Jazz

The great bebop pianist joined Marian McPartland for this session shortly before his death in 1990.

Walter Davis Jr. In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/492390537/492391202" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Don Cheadle stars as Miles Davis in the film Miles Ahead. Sony Pictures Classics hide caption

toggle caption Sony Pictures Classics

Jazz Night In America

Three Miles Ahead

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

On screen, ink, and stage with actor Don Cheadle, writer Quincy Troupe and trumpeter Keyon Harrold.

Three Miles Ahead

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/491558852/491559806" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Cecile McLorin Salvant and Sullivan Fortner. Mark Fitton/Philippe Levy-Stab/Courtesy of the artists hide caption

toggle caption Mark Fitton/Philippe Levy-Stab/Courtesy of the artists

Jazz Night In America

Cecile McLorin Salvant And Sullivan Fortner

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Two rising stars of their instruments duet at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Cecile McLorin Salvant And Sullivan Fortner

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/491556926/491558723" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Norah Jones. Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS hide caption

toggle caption Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Norah Jones On Piano Jazz

The smoky-voiced singer reinvents standards like "The Nearness Of You" in a 2003 session.

Marian McPartland In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/491481080/491483313" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Marty Napoleon. Wikimedia Commons hide caption

toggle caption Wikimedia Commons

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Marty Napoleon On Piano Jazz

Hear the pianist, who once played with Louis Armstrong's All Stars, duet with Marian McPartland.

Marty Napoleon In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/490624621/490631097" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

David Sánchez. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

David Sánchez On Piano Jazz

The cosmopolitan saxophonist and his rhythm section join Marian McPartland for a set of standards.

David Sanchez In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/489759939/489765697" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Cover art to The Great Kai and J.J., 1960. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Jazz Night In America

The Eminence Of J.J. Johnson, And His Partnership With Kai Winding

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Trombonist Vincent Gardner takes on the music of his instrument's bebop pioneer.

The Eminence Of J.J. Johnson, And His Partnership With Kai Winding

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/488851522/488851879" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top