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The Bad Plus Takes a Unique Path

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Monday February 04, 2013

From The Pittsburgh Tribune

Bad Plus taking a unique path to music
By: Bob Karlovits

Calling the Bad Plus a jazz trio is too simple a description.

Sure, there are three members of the band, and they are in the traditional piano-bass-drums setting. But the group’s approach to music and even song-writing is so different it is nearly in a category entirely its own.

Pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer David King showed this highly individual nature at two concerts Saturday night at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild on the North Side. The first session was a performance of all-original works played in the band’s manner of give-and-take that moves it far from the trio work of Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans or even Keith Jarrett.

Rather than building their work around expansive explorations of melody, the Bad Plus creates its sound by building sonic creations that depend on interchange among the three players more than the structure of the songs.

One of the most impressive works of the first set was the opening “Pound for Pound,” which began with a simple statement from drummer King, followed by a nearly equally simple line from Iverson. His melody hardly changed at all in the piece, but the drummer and bassist Anderson grew in their work so much the piece grew like a Phillip Glass composition. The development was simple in construction, but its sound became massive.

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