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The Bad Plus to present concert as part of Sterne residency

October 31, 2010

The Bad Plus to present concert as part of Sterne residency

Bad Plus
The Bad Plus

The jazz trio The Bad Plus, in residence in Skidmore's Music Department this week, will perform at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, in the Arthur Zankel Music Center. General admission tickets start at $11, $8 for seniors, and $3 for students. More information and tickets available online or by phone at 1-888-71-TICKETS (842-5327). 

The Bad Plus will not stick to a particular program or theme, rather, they will call the set on the stage. In addition to the live performance, the trio's residency will include two activities with the Skidmore community: a rehearsal of the Small Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of John Nazarenko, senior artist-in-residence, at 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, in Zankel Center's Elisabeth Luce Moore Hall. The event will be open to the public. Seating is limited. In addition, The Bad Plus will hold private master classes with Skidmore student musicians.

The jazz trio, consisting of bassist Reid Anderson, drummer David King, and pianist Ethan Iverson, has amalgamated genres with their albums The Bad Plus (2001), These Are the Vistas (2003), Give (2004), Suspicious Activity? (2005), Prog (2007), and For All I Care (2009).

Iverson, who hails from Wisconsin, has performed with some of largest names in jazz, such as drummer Billy Hart, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, saxophonist Lee Konitz, and bassist Ben Street. Before aligning with The Bad Plus, bassist Reid Anderson, from Minnesota, was a band leader on two albums, Dirty Show Tunes (1998) and Abolish Bad Architecture (1999), which foreshadowed the jazz fusion of The Bad Plus. Dave King, also from Minnesota, is active in the indie jazz band Happy Apple, and performs in nearly a dozen bands in the Minnesota area. Iverson, Anderson, and King each compose for the trio.

Through their love of rock music, the band has covered such groups as Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Rush, Wilco, and the Pixies, and translated their music into new sonic territory, without stepping into the boundary of the avant-garde.

In addition to a genuine interest in rock music, The Bad Plus acknowledges all the great musicians of the 20thcentury- from the jazz legends of John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk, to the composers Gyorgy Ligeti, Milton Babbitt, and Igor Stravinsky. The band recently commemorated the 100thbirthday of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring by covering the piece through what pianist Iverson described as an "integration of jazz, rock, and electronica drumming traditions in densely abstract harmonic designs," while retaining the "rhythmic integrity and innovation of The Rite."

The band has received much acclaim from The Guardian, The New Yorker, Blender, and the Village Voice. The New York Times said the band is "better than anyone at mixing the sensibilities of post-60's jazz and indie rock," and Rolling Stone called its music "about as badass as highbrow gets." Billboard summarized The Bad Plus as an "Audacious, rule-breaking jazz trio [that] crunches and at times pulverizes swing to let improvisational freedom shine...Dynamics play a huge roll in the act's music, as does humor, an element sorely lacking in most of contemporary jazz. But beauty is also key... jazz purists tremble while the vanguard flocks."

The Bad Plus comes to Skidmore as part of the Sterne Virtuoso Series, which was funded through a generous bequest from alumna Jean Sterne '32.

About Never Stop (2010)

Never Stop,released in September, is the trio's eighth album but its first album of original compositions. In continuing with the multi-genre nature of the group, the album features musical elements of classic swing and '80s techno.

The band approached this studio recording in a more organic fashion by playing together in the same space in an effort to emulate a live show.

"The recording of this album [is] more like a jazz record from the '50s or '60s," says King. "To eliminate studio separation as much as possible, I set up in the same room as Ethan, with Reid in plain sight. It created a really free atmosphere, as if we were playing a show."


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