Monday July 02, 2012
The Bad Plus with Joshua Redman at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival
By Pamela Espeland
I could listen to The Bad Plus until hell freezes over or the cows come home. I’ve been a fan since “Authorized Bootleg” and have seen them live whenever I could since early 2002. To me, their music doesn’t get old. Songs I’ve heard repeatedly are familiar but still fresh. Last night, in the final moments of this year’s Twin Cities Jazz Festival, they played “Dirty Blonde” as their second encore. It came out on “Give” (2004). Bring it on.
It’s a trio that accepts no substitutes. Other pianists don’t sit in for Ethan Iverson, nor bassists for Reid Anderson or drummers for Dave King. But in recent years the group has added guests to the mix. In 2008, they released “For All I Care” with alt-rocker vocalist Wendy Lewis. They had wanted to work with a singer and briefly considered Tom Jones and Darryl Hall. Lewis was practically family; she and King had played together, and she’s cousin to Michael Lewis, who plays saxophone in Happy Apple, one of King’s many bands. She fit right in.
A collaboration I wish I’d seen: The Badwagon, a one-off sextet comprising The Bad Plus and Jason Moran’s Bandwagon (with Tarus Mateen and Nasheet Waits) in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park in June 2011. Nate Chinen called it a “conglomerated racket.” Most recently, TBP has been performing with Bill Frisell; they played together at Jazz at Lincoln Center in April and will reconvene at the Newport Jazz Festival in August. But their main “special guest” is currently saxophonist Joshua Redman, and this is the group that closed Jazz Fest and drew the biggest crowds.
Redman and TBP first played together in April 2011 during the Blue Note’s 50th anniversary party in NYC, then at the Saalfelden (Austria) Jazz Festival in August and the Toronto Jazz Festival last Sunday, June 24. So last night was only their fourth time performing publicly. They’re about to tour Europe for three weeks, starting at the North Sea Jazz Festival next Sunday (July 8). After which, Iverson told Britt Robson, “I’d like to record, if we can work it out.”
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