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The Bad Plus' Collective Commitment to Their Sound

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Thursday October 17, 2013

From Denver Westword

The Bad Plus makes good on Made Possible
By: Jon Solomon

Throughout the history of jazz, groups have been driven by a single leader. But when the Bad Plus formed thirteen years ago, the trio made it a point to be more of a collective. The approach had worked well for drummer Dave King’s group Happy Apple, which he co-founded four years prior to joining the Bad Plus in 2000.

Of course, there’s another valid reason for not having the band’s identity tied to just one individual. “You have to change the band name if you change the personnel,” notes Bad Plus pianist Ethan Iverson. “We would like to be influential about the idea of a band. If there’s one thing that’s really helped us — and I think could help other musicians, too, or the way that music should go — it’s committed ensembles that have an ensemble sound.

“For us, it’s really worked out,” he goes on, “and just to have that commitment to a sound — you know, the sound of the music and the sound of these musicians playing music together — that’s very important to us. I think the thing is, all of our fans like us because we have a sound. It’s not anonymous, or it’s not the lead voice in something that surrounds us, which may or may not be the guys on the record. It’s this sound. So that’s what we can bring to the table.”

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