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Ethan Iverson: A Decade of “Do the Math”

The Bad Plus' pianist reflects on his enlightening, entertaining blog

Ethan Iverson (photo by Jimmy Katz)
Ethan Iverson (photo by Jimmy Katz)
Ethan Iverson (photo by Jimmy Katz)
Ethan Iverson (photo by Jimmy Katz)

Whether or not the popular jazz-focused blog Do the Math recently celebrated its 10th anniversary depends entirely on when you choose to start counting. Based on the moment a blog by that name came into existence, we’re a little over a year late. Do the Math launched in September 2005, without fanfare or even an introduction-just a list: recommended live performances, among them Strauss at City Opera and the Motian/Frisell/Lovano trio at the Village Vanguard; DVDs, including Errol Morris’ groundbreaking documentary The Thin Blue Line; books, mainly crime novels, which continue to be a staple on the site; and recordings, with titles by Ornette Coleman, Keith Jarrett and Interpol.

That was it. No commentary, no introduction, just a bunch of stuff capturing the attention of the three members of the Bad Plus. Do the Math wasn’t an outlet for pianist Ethan Iverson’s musings at the time; it was meant to be a band blog for all three members of the irreverent trio to broadcast their diverse interests. “We had this energy around the Bad Plus in 2004 and ’05,” Iverson recalled recently, backstage before a gig at the Philadelphia Art Alliance. “We were touring the country and the Internet was just starting to really get going, and we thought our love of a lot of different kinds of music would be a nice thing to share with our fans.”

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