The Bad Plus: Live At The Village Vanguard It's no use pretending that a crucial part of The Bad Plus' wide appeal isn't its re-imaginings of pop hits. But as it ushers in a new decade, the trio focuses mostly on new, original compositions.

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

Turtle Island String Quartet with Cyrus Chestnut Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Turtle Island Quartet Joins Cyrus Chestnut With Global Gospel Offering

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Watch Carry Me Home, a program from Turtle Island, the hardest working string quartet in jazz, and their latest collaborator, pianist Cyrus Chestnut.

Turtle Island Quartet Joins Cyrus Chestnut With Global Gospel Offering

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/729918599/730429366" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Joe Lovano. Craig Lovell/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Craig Lovell/Courtesy of the artist

Cleveland's Joe Lovano Comes Home

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Every December, saxophonist Joe Lovano travels home to Cleveland to throw himself a birthday concert. We hear tales of Lovano family lore, and a get a slice of his musical past and present.

Cleveland's Joe Lovano Comes Home

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/723488456/723984007" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Bassist Christian McBride (left) and Blues artist Joey DeFrancesco (right). Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

A Reunion Of Brotherly Love: Joey DeFrancesco Traces His Roots

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Christian McBride interviews one of his oldest friends, organist Joey DeFrancesco, in their hometown of Philadelphia.

A Reunion Of Brotherly Love: Joey DeFrancesco Traces His Roots

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/687886485/688249013" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Grammy-winning trumpeter Roy Hargrove passed away at age 49. Courtesy of The Roy Hargrove Estate hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of The Roy Hargrove Estate

'Jazz Night In America' Remembers Artists We Lost In 2018

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Friends of the show offer memories and music of pianist Cecil Taylor, Village Vanguard owner Lorraine Gordon, South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela and trumpeter Roy Hargrove.

'Jazz Night In America' Remembers Artists We Lost In 2018

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/678136954/678160463" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra perform new arrangements of holiday classics in New York City. Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center hide caption

toggle caption Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center

The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra Performs Big Band Holiday Classics

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

New arrangements, old Yuletide classics. Watch the annual Jazz at Lincoln Center Big Band Holidays concert live on Wed., December 19th at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Back To Top