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The Bad Plus: Goodbye, Hello

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Wednesday April 04, 2018

From JazzTimes

The Bad Plus: Goodbye, Hello: David Fricke says farewell to the original Bad Plus during their final Village Vanguard run—and looks forward to the band’s bold new era
By: David Fricke

[…] Spending the week approaching New Year’s Eve at the Vanguard had become a tradition for the Bad Plus. This stand was Iverson’s last—a final holiday round for the New York faithful. It was also an acknowledgement, in its repertoire and its concentrated reprise of original strengths, that an exceptional adventure in piano-trio brotherhood had been stuck at a crossroads for some time.

In some ways, Evans’ arrival is business uninterrupted. As before, the trio is a joining of two long-standing associations (Anderson with King and Evans, respectively). Like the Fresh Sound album, which was recorded after only a few gigs, Never Stop II was cut as an act of faith in the future, in this case following a handful of rehearsals.

And like 2010’s Never Stop—the first Bad Plus album consisting entirely of original material—Never Stop II features all new compositions, the writing split between the three members and flaunting a more fluid exchange of leadership. There is a shift in character, too, with Evans’ brawny, bop-rooted force and deep-blues vernacular replacing Iverson’s classical grounding and pointillistic attack. Evans’ rolling spins through and around the melody are a buoyant counterweight to the dark, dance-y urgency of Anderson’s “Trace.” King begins soloing less than a minute into Evans’ jubilant, disjointed “Commitment,” and when Evans takes control again in his piano break, King and Anderson lock into a chase sequence underneath that speaks to their sturdy, fundamental kinship.

We have a whole new set of vistas to look forward to.

Read the whole piece here