REVIEW: The Bad Plus at Austin Chamber Music Festival

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Friday July 13, 2012

from Austin 360

The Bad Plus-Austin American Statesman Review
By Luke Quinton

You don’t hear a lot chamber music festivals with audiences hollering out requests, or men excitedly hooting ‘Woooooo!’ after a piece. But then, Austin’s Chamber Music Festival brought in The Bad Plus. And to play famed club Antone’s no less, where a crowd packed in to hear the jazz trio charm with favorites, like Aphex Twin’s ‘Flim,’ and amaze, trampling through a host of brand new originals. Not that the request-makers made headway. But there is so much to focus your attention on in each piece that it may be impossible for die-hards to leave disappointed.

You get a myriad of emotions in a Bad Plus show. There were urbane moments of Ethan Iverson’s tinkling piano riffs and drummer Dave King’s smooth brush work. And that’s where things started, in the slow and relative calm of a moody melody.

But it wasn’t long before they broke out the big thundering drums and scurrying bass and piano parts.

‘The Empire Strikes Backwards,’ has a three-note piano phrase that worms into your ear long after the show. The same is true for their take on Aphex Twin, or the band’s own ‘Never Stop,’ whose addictive melody stayed fresh live, thanks to a slightly brisker pace.

Drummer Dave King’s ‘Anthem for the Earnest’ was generously melodic, but its true source of entertainment lies in the stops, starts and changes in direction.

Improvisation has a big part to play, though you would have to know their catalogue inside and out to detect it. A beguiling impressionistic bass solo with Reid Anderson muffling every other note worked gorgeously against King’s soft brushed accompaniment.

Read the full article here