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The Bad Plus

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  • The Bad Plus

  • The Bad Plus


Biography All Music Guide

Group Members: Ethan Iverson, Reid Anderson, School Work

All Music Guide:

Are the Bad Plus a pop- and rock-influenced jazz trio? Or are they a power trio whose members like to play jazz? It's really a bit of both. But in the brave new world of postmodern jazz, identity crises are encouraged. Reid Anderson (bass) and David King (drums) grew up in Minnesota, while pianist Ethan Iverson spent his formative years in Wisconsin. Eventually, after crossing paths in such unlikely places as high-school rock showcases and tentative free jazz performances inside Upper Midwestern diners, the three first performed as the Bad Plus in 1990, but they would spend the '90s embracing separate influences, each musician developing a unique musical language that would gestate into the trio's iconoclastic jazz template. Anderson released three albums on the Spanish indie Fresh Sound; Iverson was music director of New York City's prestigious Mark Morris Dance Group, and King worked with his Happy Apple combo, as well as 12 Rods.

In August of 2001, the bandmembers put aside their other projects and released The Bad Plus through Fresh Sound. It established that the Bad Plus were unafraid to stray from the confines of jazz, but confident enough in their forays to make them stimulating, and not simply novelties. The debut was a critical success, garnering best-of honors from The New York Times and Chicago Reader, among others. An "official" bootleg followed in 2002, eventually going out of print.

It was a particularly memorable performance at New York's Village Vanguard that led Columbia Records to sign the Bad Plus; in February of 2003, the label released These Are the Vistas, which was produced by stranger-to-jazz and ex-Latin Playboy Tchad Blake. The album presented original compositions from each musician, as well as a few ringers from the musical world outside the borders of jazz. Their re-imaginations of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (which Iverson had reportedly never heard before), Blondie's "Heart of Glass," and Aphex Twin's "Flim" caused tails to wag, but it was the Bad Plus' powerful mixture of personality and performance that really defined them.

The Bad Plus toured throughout spring and summer 2003 in support of their major-label debut. The band's second album, Give, followed in spring 2004. For 2005's Suspicious Activity?, the trio produced the album with Blake at RealWorld Studios in England. PROG followed in 2007. In 2009 the Bad Plus teamed up with vocalist Wendy Lewis, adding a new dimension to the sound of their sixth album, For All I Care. The following year they continued to shake things up, releasing Never Stop, the group's first album of all original material. After extensive touring and other projects, they recorded another collection of all-original material, Made Possible; it was released in September of 2012. After extensive touring and some side projects by the bandmembers, the Bad Plus returned to the studio and recorded their own version of Igor Stravinsky's ballet The Rite of Spring. It was released by Sony Masterworks in March of 2014, followed by Inevitable Western, a collection of original material, issued in August.

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Tour Dates All Dates Dates In My Area

Date Venue Location Tickets
12.10.16 The Jazz Kitchen Indianapolis, IN US
12.10.16 The Jazz Kitchen Indianapolis, IN US
12.11.16 Cliff Bell's Detroit, MI US
12.13.16 The Back Room Kalamazoo, MI US
12.15.16 Colectivo Coffee - Prospect Cafe Milwaukee, WI US
12.18.16 Sacred Heart Music Center Duluth, MN US
12.22.16 Dakota Jazz Club Minneapolis, MN US
01.18.17 Dazzle Jazz Denver, CO US
01.19.17 Neptune Theatre Seattle, WA US
03.30.17 Jefferson Center Roanoke, VA US

eMusic Features


Interview: Ethan Iverson

By Kevin Whitehead, Contributor

Ethan Iverson is a polymath: a jazz pianist equally comfortable playing Cole Porter's "Night and Day" at a cozy club like Smalls and knocking out Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" on a theater stage with the Bad Plus, the hugely influential trio he co-leads with drummer Dave King and bassist Reid Anderson. These days, they mostly play original music, although lately they've been playing Stravinsky's Rite of Spring on the road. Their new album Made Possible… more »


  • 12.08.16 Here is a great live version of our cover of Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The midwest tour is coming right up, right... https://t.co/agydx2E4lW
  • 12.08.16 Interview with Dave King. The midwest tour kicks off tomorrow with Xavier University Music Series. Ticket info:... https://t.co/qgwNumxxul
  • 12.08.16 Music heals. Midwest tour December dates: https://t.co/lo1iQh4ghX https://t.co/BoIYJjW6Hp
  • 12.07.16 December 9th kicks off the Midwest tour at Xavier University Music Series, not to be missed! Additional info:... https://t.co/vGy1AMWJGZ
  • 12.07.16 RT @_CrossoverMedia: .@Thebadplus @ethan_iverson @rationalfunk set for @XavierUniv @XavierTheater #Cincinnati @Enquirer https://t.co/aJALMS…
  • 12.07.16 December 15th at Pabst / Riverside / Turner Hall, 2 sets.Ticket info:... https://t.co/AxsJC8MK4x
  • 12.05.16 RT @80R6: Monday morning vibes #thebadplus for all I care on #vinyl @ The Loading Dock https://t.co/n8eok9Uh2P
  • 12.03.16 RT @XavierMusicSeri: @Thebadplus and first concert is in Cincinnati @XavierMusicSeri @XavierUniv ! @CityBeatMusic @ENQThingsToDo
  • 12.03.16 RT @ethan_iverson: finally, a little gossip: Tootie Heath said that when recording, Wynton K. would yell if he made a mistake, ensuring tak…
  • 12.03.16 RT @davedouglas: Recording w @WadadaLeoSmith @OliverLake #FredFrith #AndrewCyrille @krisdavismusic @mattmitchellus #yasushinakamura @Greenl…
  • 12.03.16 Midwest tour starts 12/9 https://t.co/lo1iQh4ghX
  • 12.01.16 We are playing on December 9th as a part of the Xavier University Music Series, come out for this! Additional... https://t.co/l8bdABhTs8