2

The Bad Plus: Burlington, VT February 16, 2013

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
The Bad Plus
Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
Burlington VT
February 16, 2013

The Bad Plus' appearance on The Flynn Mainstage illustrated how much progress the trio's made since earlier appearances in the much smaller FlynnSpace. The surprising number of empty seats as the evening progressed hinted the performance bordered on the underwhelming, but that was a passing sensation as the concert progressed.

The trio's half-hour jaunt through Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring," though ostensibly the feature of the concert, ended up being simply a precursor to a handful of originals, in which pianist Ethan Iverson, drummer Dave King and bassist Reid Anderson took the technical expertise they devoted to the classical piece and made it the means to an end of more open-ended improvisation.

The end result was music actually more vivid than the preceding presentation, even with its video augmentation, which proved to be distracting when scenic images or pure color gave way to dancing figures. While (impressively) enacted live in time with the playing, they nonetheless conflicted with the attendees' concentration on what bassist Anderson later termed 'hitting just the right notes.'

There was the sense that the real emotion with which The Bad Plus imbued the Stravinsky piece was a fierce sense of discipline by which it kept rein on its naturally improvisational will. The Bad Plus wasn't exactly hamstrung within the confines of the famous composition during the early part of the evening, but certainly exhibited only a fraction of what makes this trio so distinctive. Like so very few ensembles, Iverson, Anderson and King are of virtually equal skill and imagination, a dynamic that serves to inspire them rather than cause friction.

The sense of freedom the trio so relishes was palpable on originals such as "Re-Elect That" and "Seven Minute Mind," both selections from their most recent studio album, Made Possible (eOne Music, 2012). The individual musicians' idiosyncratic styles of playing meshed in an ever so fluid give and take, and they now eschew playing up their eccentricities (as they once did to such a fault); King snapped the snares on his drum at one point, but called no attention to it with any histrionics. Likewise, Iverson became so caught up in his playing on "Wolf Out" that it became an un-self-conscious physical exercise for him, in stark contrast to the cerebral restraint he devoted to the earlier sections of the set.

Anderson's witty intros to the tunes, combined with earnest expressions of gracious gratitude offered to an audience passionate out of proportion to TBP's final numbers leavened the mood as the unfortunately abbreviated nine-minutes concluded. Yet The Bad Plus radiated such a deceptively unconventional approach to its art that the post- concert Q&A might well have been considered an extension of the show itself.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Songs of Scott Walker (1967-70) at Royal Albert Hall Live Reviews The Songs of Scott Walker (1967-70) at Royal Albert Hall
by John Eyles
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Bryan Ferry at the Paramount Theater Live Reviews Bryan Ferry at the Paramount Theater
by Geoff Anderson
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Newport Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Newport Jazz Festival 2017
by Timothy J. O'Keefe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read FORQ at The World Cafe Live Live Reviews FORQ at The World Cafe Live
by Mike Jacobs
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Mat Maneri and Tanya Kalmanovitch at Korzo Live Reviews Mat Maneri and Tanya Kalmanovitch at Korzo
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "London Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews London Jazz Festival 2016
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 25, 2016
Read "Mike Zito at the Iridium" Live Reviews Mike Zito at the Iridium
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2017
by Nick Davies
Published: May 13, 2017
Read "SFJAZZ Collective At SFJAZZ" Live Reviews SFJAZZ Collective At SFJAZZ
by David Becker
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Stockholm Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Stockholm Jazz Festival 2016
by John Ephland
Published: November 14, 2016
Read "Jay Phelps at the Harrow Arts Centre" Live Reviews Jay Phelps at the Harrow Arts Centre
by Barry Witherden
Published: July 25, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.