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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

“The Bad Plus” fits Concert Hall’s jive

<ulating tunes of saxophones and trumpets; Ella Fitzgerald-like scat singing at a distance. These are things “The Bad Plus” is not. The avant-garde jazz trio has diverged from conventional personas of the genre and constructed a new musical regime infused with influences from other artistic styles.

The group visited Carleton this past Friday to perform for both the College and Northfield community. The concert showcased pianist Ethan Iverson, deftly maneuvering his fingers across the keyboard, bassist Reid Anderson, folding over the upper bout of his instrument, and percussionist David King, phrasing dynamic beats from the drums. No single member established a distinguishing melody, as the musicians seemed to collaboratively exert harmonious energy. Through unified force, the trio of virtuosos delivered a performance that seemed to exalt the audience to a cosmic reality.

During the preceding lecture, Anderson expressed wishes to “channel the power of that music” to their audience and to really enhance the song to “make it ours.” It became apparent that they did just that when the crowd began to collectively nod to the rhythm of the music. The band also commented on how human beings experience a “natural connection” through music when a certain blend of beats and tunes often appeal inherently to the masses. The ambience in the concert hall vacillated throughout each of their pieces, establishing a kind of musical “community.”

While the music of “The Bad Plus” was of a unique and complicated design, they were able to translate their sentiments to the audience. The band remarked on their intrinsic connection to their respective instruments, how those instruments are more like vital, external organs than merely reliable tools.  

King said he prefers music to be “short declarative sentences.” During the concert, the band created music that seemed to assert succinct messages embedded within their complex prose. They definitely made a declarative statement that they were “The Bad Plus” and nobody else is like them.

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