May 20, 2024

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The Bad Plus are freshly covering and reinventing themselves at the same time inventing their jazz to the next level: Photos, Video

I first heard about The Bad Plus in 2001 when our friends Maya and Dave pointed them out to us while we were living in Boston. A few years later I heard them live in concert when they were playing at the 2004 Montreux Jazz Festival as the front runners to Steve Winwood.

It was a marvellous concert following the releases of “These Are the Vistas” and “Give”, and they were well into establishing their fresh signature sound of avant-garde jazz rock / rock pop cover. I saw them again at the Stanser Musiktage were they rocked the venue. At the time and until very recently the jazz trio consisted of bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer Dave King, touring the world, becoming famous and releasing 12 studio albums along the way, my favourite is “Prog”.

The 2017 announcement that Ethan would retire from the band left me a bit sentimental, after all The Bad Plus had been my companion for the past 16 years. However, the band were to continue with Orrin Evans being announced as the new pianist. And so I was curious to see them again and the opportunity came on April 21 when they were playing at the Moods Jazz Club in Zurich.

It was amazing to see and listen how cohesive the band was playing, how well Orrin already integrated into the trio, how familiar and at the same time newly improvised his play and interpretations were of their early, original repertoire. The concert was a delightful mix of old favourites (though they did not play “Giant”, my favourite title) and new original titles from their just released album “Never Stop II”. The new tunes are great and promising, and in my opinion follow more in the tradition of their first decade and evolving it further. Seems The Bad Plus are freshly covering and reinventing themselves at the same time inventing their jazz to the next level. It sounded fantastic and the audience was ecstatic.

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