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The Bad Plus: Goodbye, Hello

David Fricke says farewell to the original Bad Plus during their final Village Vanguard run—and looks forward to the band’s bold new era

The original Bad Plus–Dave King, Reid Anderson and Ethan Iverson (from left)–in the Village Vanguard’s office/kitchen area in December (photo by Alan Nahigian)

It was a familiar parade. On Dec. 27, the founding members of the Bad Plus—pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King—walked single file along the upper banquette at New York’s Village Vanguard toward the stage for their first set of the evening. They were dressed much like I first saw them at the club in February of 2003—the week Columbia Records released the group’s major-label debut, These Are the Vistas—and many other nights there and around town for 15 years. Somehow, the Bad Plus—to me the most compelling, reliably challenging and singularly cohesive trio in 21st-century jazz—always looked like they’d just arrived from three different bands.

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Originally Published

David Fricke

David Fricke has written about music for more than four decades for publications including Rolling Stone, MOJO, the late great British weekly Melody Maker and now JazzTimes. He is a DJ at Sirius XM Radio, a Grammy-nominated writer of album liner notes and a three-time winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music journalism.