Tweaking the Familiar and the Unfamiliar at Village Vanguard

Reid Anderson - bass Ethan Iverson - piano Dav...
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From, a review of Iverson / Anderson / Motian.

The pianist Ethan Iverson and the bassist Reid Anderson make up two-thirds of the Bad Plus, which resembles a jazz piano trio but functions, broadly and stubbornly, as a band. There is no substitution clause in the group’s playbook: take away one member, and it isn’t the Bad Plus. Such is the case this week at the Village Vanguard, where Mr. Iverson and Mr. Anderson are working without their steadfast partner, the drummer David King.

Intriguingly, the third name on the bill instead is Paul Motian, a master colorist whose influence on the Bad Plus runs quiet but deep. He’s a different animal than Mr. King: less eruptive but more enigmatic, with a truer fondness for ungainliness. At the same time, he represents an ideal of willful abstraction that Mr. King, as much as his bandmates, has taken fully to heart. Before this week, he had played separately with Mr. Iverson and Mr. Anderson, but never both together, so their first set on Tuesday had an air of inquiry.

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