The Bad Plus Woos Crowd

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Thursday June 29, 2017

From Ottawa Citizen

Jazzfest review: The Bad Plus woos crowd with eclectic, left-of-centre sounds
By: Peter Hum

While the Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra was stranded in New York on Wednesday due to a flight snafu, The Bad Plus was a more than worthy substitute in Confederation Park on the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival’s main stage.

‘Charlie Haden was a major influence on all three of us. We really considered him one of our guiding lights,’ The Bad Plus’s bassist, Reid Anderson, announced midway through the band’s 75-minute set on behalf of his colleagues, pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer David King.

And with that the trio, which had been bumped from its NAC Studio booking to play the festival’s biggest outdoor venue, launched into a version of Ornette Coleman’s Law Years, which had featured Haden’s wide-roaming bass on the 1971 recording. Iverson did Haden proud with his solo intro.

That piece was one of many facets that the still-unique trio offered during its Ottawa set. While the egalitarian group was first pigeonholed in the early 2000s as that piano trio that dared to rock out on songs by Nirvana, Black Sabbath and Rush, it’s been far more eclectic. There was its embrace of not just Coleman’s music, but Stravinsky’s, too. And that’s not to mention its collaborations with figures as diverse as Joshua Redman, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Tim Berne and vocalist Wendy Lewis, or the always interesting, left-of-centre originals from all three members.

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