Share This Page

The Bad Plus finds its strength in give and take

| Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
From left, David King, Ethan Iverson and Reid Anderson of Bad Plus. Credit: Cameron Wittig

Drummer David King says he is breathing a little easier now that The Bad Plus has passed through the days when it “took all the heat” for is forward-looking programming.

A little over a decade ago, the group was making itself known recording and performing songs by Nirvana, Queen, Rush and Blondie. King says that kind of lineup made some people look at it as some sort of “prog-jazz” band and little more.

But the reality is, he says, The Bad Plus is just a jazz trio looking for material with which it is comfortable. More importantly, it is a “leaderless” band that grows from each other's ideas.

The band will present its ideas Saturday when it performs at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild on the North Side.

“There are some places we go to all the time, but it's nice to go to a place we haven't been in awhile,” he says of the trip to the Guild, where they last appeared in 2007.

The Bad Plus consists of King, pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Reid Anderson.

Many jazz fans initially rejected the band for its wide choice of material. Those listeners missed the exchange of ideas that made the band's work as lively and creative as many jazz bands try to be.

The music is not the key element to understanding The Bad Plus, King says. Rather, it is the trading of thoughts rather than the following of a leader.

He admits that can be difficult to understand when only heard. At performances, the exchange of ideas can be seen from the physical actions of the group. A statement by Anderson can lead to a change in rhythm from King, or vice versa.

“Really, what we wanted to have people understand was that we were on real equal footing,” he says.

King, Iverson and Anderson still are in the search for new music. Currently, the band is doing a trio version of Igor Stravinsky's “The Rite of Spring,” in which they stay close to the structure of the pieces of the work.

Naturally, a Bad Plus version of “The Rite of Spring” is going to be filled with improvisation, but the rhythmic daring with which Stravinsky wrote that piece in 1913 creates a piece of music adventurous in its own.

The group has played it in several concerts, he says, and hopes to be able to record it.

Stravinsky or Blondie, King says, the big thing to remember is the band is The Bad Plus.

“We just want to thank people for sticking with us over the years,” he says.

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bkarlovits@tribweb.com or 412-320-7852.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.