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New Year's Eve at Village Vanguard

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Wednesday January 03, 2018

From Downbeat News

Iverson Plays Final Show with Bad Plus
By: Phillip Lutz

Amid the flow of good cheer and finger food—the latter a rarity for the famously foodless Vanguard—the three musicians were operating at full tilt, making a case for their legacy as one of the millennium’s first, and most salient, innovators of the piano-bass-drums format.

The evening offered two full sets: the first, a deep dive into original repertoire; the second, an amalgam of originals that seamlessly segued into a series of covers. Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” all unfolded in rapid succession and generated a rousing response.

Covers are what first brought the band to the attention of an audience outside the jazz realm, and the decision to end the evening with them suggested a tacit recognition of that fact. At the same time, the evening’s unique circumstance—the final bow of an iconic band as it is currently constituted—compelled a holistic evaluation of the group’s oeuvre.

As the evening wore on, a powerful through-line emerged. Whether reimagining others’ compositions or interpreting their own, the band’s operating assumptions did not waver. They trafficked in a kind of creative deconstruction, with the elements of sound—as much as any specific organization of notes—the subject of their excavations.

“We’ve traveled the world and played thousands of concerts,” Anderson told the audience. “And we’ve touched people with our music. We’ve been through so many things—deaths and births and marriages and divorces. Life has been very real. And we’ve taken care of this music over the years together in this band. The Bad Plus changed our lives.”

Read more of the review here