Wednesday December 05, 2012
From Modern Drummer
Dave King of the Bad Plus: Web-Exclusive Interview
By: Michael Parillo
I’ve always been attracted to the mystery of things, not just the road map,” says Dave King of the Bad Plus, MD’s October 2012 cover star. And indeed, King sometimes resists analyzing his own wide-ranging music on a technical level, letting the sounds and the feelings they evoke resonate within each listener in a personal, individual way. But he’s always happy to open up about the creative process and the many artists who have inspired him. Here, in this Web-exclusive companion to our print feature, King talks about his musical upbringing and sheds more light on the Bad Plus—which, in addition to the drummer, includes bassist Reid Anderson and pianist Ethan Iverson—and its new release, Made Possible. (Under his own name, King has also recently put out an album of mostly standards, I’ve Been Ringing You, with bassist Billy Peterson and pianist Bill Carrothers.)
“Anything that can be a challenge or a complex emotion, we’re at least interested in it,” Dave says of the Plus’s inclusive mindset, where jazz mingles freely with a host of other concepts, including rock, minimalism, electronica, and twentieth-century classical music. “It’s always like: Yeah, let’s do it.
MD: You play high-concept music, but nuts and bolts help construct it. You clearly put in your time getting things like speed, smoothness, and dynamics, and you can reference so many styles.
Dave: My life experience comes from checking out everybody. I checked out Vinnie Colaiuta and Dennis Chambers right alongside Beaver Harris, Tony Williams, Billy Higgins. I mention Beaver Harris or Sonny Murray or Rashied Ali—all my quote-unquote free heroes—but I checked out Dennis Chambers and Steve Gadd right alongside my Elvin fixations, or whatever. My heroes from the generation or two before me, the Joey Barons, or you can go further back to Jack DeJohnette and Billy Hart, they’re always the quirkier musicians. These guys have tons of technique, but when you strip away the obviousness of technique it’s like modern movements in art—you’re getting to some other, very sophisticated space.
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