Bad Plus taking a unique path to music
Calling the Bad Plus a jazz trio is too simple a description.
Sure, there are three members of the band, and they are in the traditional piano-bass-drums setting. But the group's approach to music and even song-writing is so different it is nearly in a category entirely its own.
Pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer David King showed this highly individual nature at two concerts Saturday night at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild on the North Side. The first session was a performance of all-original works played in the band's manner of give-and-take that moves it far from the trio work of Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans or even Keith Jarrett.
Rather than building their work around expansive explorations of melody, the Bad Plus creates its sound by building sonic creations that depend on interchange among the three players more than the structure of the songs.
One of the most impressive works of the first set was the opening “Pound for Pound,” which began with a simple statement from drummer King, followed by a nearly equally simple line from Iverson. His melody hardly changed at all in the piece, but the drummer and bassist Anderson grew in their work so much the piece grew like a Phillip Glass composition. The development was simple in construction, but its sound became massive.
Each of the players had pieces where they drove the show. King's “Thrift Store Jewelry” was a fast piece that followed and contrasted greatly to the gentler “Mint.” Its speed was striking right away, but King also added a roaring solo that drove the piece into its finale.
Similarly, Anderson was the key behind “Seven-Minute Mind” with complex and forceful bass work.
Iverson provides one of the more fascinating aspects of the group. He operates far from the Peterson-Jarrett style and sometimes sounds almost simplistic in his statements. But all of them bet bigger — almost without notice.
On “People Like You,” for instance, his ballad-like melody moved with the addition of a few notes on each statement of theme. The work of Anderson and King matched his work, making the piece get larger.
The bassist, who was the show's spokesman, also added some humor to the set, singing a bluesy “Don't Run Away” toward the end of the concert, urging listeners to meet them after the set and buy CDs and T-shirts.
There is plenty of Plus in this bad.
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7852.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Pittsburgh producer revives, re-airs an expanded ‘Motown 25 ’
- PSO’s Honeck coaxes orchestral brilliance in ballet themes
- Pittsburgh Rock ’N Roll Legends Awards honors rock legends, locals
- Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to move in step with ballet music
- James Carter Organ Trio brings new energy, new metrics, new swagger
- Microtonal music festival goes off the beaten scale in Pittsburgh
- Pittsburgh native Evancho’s musical maturation keeps pace with life
- Ed Sheeran coming to Pittsburgh in May