Jazz Listings From the New York Times

John Zorn (cropped version)
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THE BAD PLUS (Tuesday through Thursday) The pianist Ethan Iverson, the bassist Reid Anderson and the drummer David King constitute the Bad Plus, a delivery system for smartly sweeping original songs, as well as wryly affectionate renditions of pop tunes. (Through Jan. 3.) At 9 and 11 p.m., Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, at 11th Street, West Village , (212) 255-4037,; cover, $25, with a $10 minimum. Special New Year’s Eve packages on Thursday. (Chinen)

ERI YAMAMOTO TRIO (Sunday) On a good portion of her new album, “In Each Day, Something Good” (AUM Fidelity), the pianist Eri Yamamoto presents music inspired by the cinematic wizardry of Yasujiro Ozu. She revisits some of that evocative terrain here, with regular partners: David Ambrosio on bass and Ikuo Takeuchi on drums. At 8:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, West Village , (212) 989-9319,; cover, $10, with a one-drink minimum. (Chinen)

? JOHN ZORN’S ANNUAL END OF THE YEAR IMPROV (Wednesday) Noise is the currency at a John Zorn improv party, which can feature any number of audacious and open-minded musicians. This jampacked edition — a benefit for Mr. Zorn’s nonprofit performance space, the Stone — will include the trombonists Jim Staley and Sam Kulik, the violinist Mark Feldman, the pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and the multireedist Ned Rothenberg. Arrive early, and be prepared to wait in the cold. At 8 and 10 p.m., the Stone, Avenue C and Second Street, East Village ,; cover, $25. (Chinen)

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Performances Reviews

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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Jazz Prospecting From Tom Hull

More reviews from Tom Hull:

The Bad Plus: For All I Care (2008 [2009], Heads Up): Front cover adds: “Joined by Wendy Lewis.” Lewis is a singer, based in Minneapolis, don’t know much more. Her presence pushed the piano trio to doing more cover songs, which leads to some not very interesting generational issues. They date their classics from the 1970s with Pink Floyd and Yes, and mix them in with the 1990s as represented by Nirvana, Wilco, and Flaming Lips. Aside from Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” they are songs I’d happily never hear again, given a sharp jolt by the band then waxed into torpor by the singer. Between the touchstones are some short quasi-classical instrumentals Igor from Stravinsky, Gyorgy Ligeti, and Milton Babbitt — the latter repeated in an alternate version. B-

Larry Ochs/Miya Masaoka/Peggy Lee: Spiller Alley (2006 [2008], RogueArt): Ochs is one of the saxophonists in ROVA. I had read a rave this release in Stef’s Free Jazz blog, knew that I’d never gotten so much as an email response from the label, but was curious enough to approach the artist. After an amusing round of emails, Ochs sent me a couple years’ output, which I’ll slowly work my way through. Thought I’d start here. Masaoka plays koto and Lee plays cello, so there’s a dominant string motif here. Ochs plays tenor and soprano sax, the former listed first but the latter seems the more temperamental fit — in any case, he tends to defer to the koto lead, coloring in rather than blowing ahead. Likewise, Lee plays more like a bassist, just a little off pitch. Good example of mutual listening, three musicians feeling their way through difficult and unforseen terrain. B (***)

Gerald Cleaver/William Parker/Craig Taborn: Farmers by Nature (2008 [2009], AUM Fidelity): Artists listed alphabetically, although Cleaver gets co-credith with Steven Joerg for production; all pieces attributed to all three, also alphabetically. I’m filing it under Cleaver, a journeyman drummer who’s played on a lot of good records and is slowly building up a short list of unspectacular ones under his own name. Taborn is a pianist who came up in James Carter’s quartet. Better known these days for his Fender Rhodes, but plays acoustic here, poking around abstractly, with muted Don Pullen flashes. Best thing here is when Taborn picks up a jagged groove and the others knock him about. Parker, of course, is superb in his supporting role, and brilliant as a soloist, at least when you can hear him clearly. Recorded at the Stone, NYC, rather offhandedly with a bit of applause at the end. Nice pictures, especially on the back cover. B (*)

Nels Cline: Coward (2008 [2009], Cryptogramophone): Solo guitar: acoustic (some), electric (mostly), effects (lots), some extra overdub junk. Solo records often sound like practice; this a bit less than the norm, but not the exception either. Rather, this plays a like a notebook of ideas, some of which can be developed into something, others discarded. As such, it oscillates more than usual between the annoying and intriguing. The latter more often than not tend to be rockish, dividends perhaps from Cline’s slumming with Wilco. B [Feb. 10]

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AMN Picks General

AMN Picks of the Week

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – Calibration (2007, free-form rock/fusion/psych)
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – Absense Makes the Heart Grow Fungus (2008, free-form rock/fusion/psych)
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – Old Money (2008, free-form rock/fusion/psych)
Bob Ravenscroft – CrossCurrents (2008, jazz)
Black Moth Super Rainbow / The Octopus Project – The House of Apples & Eyeballs (2006, modern rock / improv)
Gustavo Jobim – Piano (2005, solo piano / electronic manipulation)
The Flatlands Collective – Maatjes (2009, free jazz)
The Bad Plus – For All I Care (2009, jazz)
Matthew Shipp – Harmonic Disorder (2009, free jazz)
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – Winterwood (2009, jazz)

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