Ethan Iverson’s Home Page

Do the Gig is the weekly listing of everybody playing in New York.

Bio and press quotes are here. 

Subscribe to my newsletter, Transitional Technology, here.

Selected upcoming gigs of my own =

+ tour with Joe Sanders and Jorge Rossy
September 11 – Jimmy Glass, Valencia
12 – Jazzhus Montmartre, Copenhagen
13 – Jazz Summer meeting, Lugano
14 – Jazzclub Unterfahrt, Munich
15 – Pizza Express, London
17 – Porgy & Bess, Vienna
18 – Jazz Dock, Prague
19 – Blue Note, Milano
20 & 21 – Duc des Lombards, Paris

Do the Math began in 2004 and runs well over a million words. The most significant posts are “pages” and organized by topic.

Interviews: Over 40 discussions, mostly with musicians: Billy Hart, Ron Carter, Keith Jarrett, Marc-André Hamelin, Carla Bley, Wynton Marsalis, many others.

Consult the Manual: Essays especially for students.

Rhythm and Blues: Jazz music essays, including major pieces on McCoy Tyner, Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, Geri Allen, Bud Powell, Lester Young, many others.

Sonatas and Études: Classical music essays, including major pieces on Glenn Gould and Igor Stravinsky.

Newgate Callendar: A look at a few of my favorite crime writers like Donald E. Westlake and Charles Willeford.

If you want to support Do the Gig and Do the Math and also get updates about gigs, masterclasses, and new DTM posts, subscribe to Transitional Technology.


Trio Tour with Two of the Best

+ tour with Joe Sanders and Jorge Rossy — a recent collective of unrestrained souls

September 11 – Jimmy Glass, Valencia
12 – Jazzhus Montmartre, Copenhagen
13 – Jazz Summer meeting, Lugano
14 – Jazzclub Unterfahrt, Munich
15 – Pizza Express, London
17 – Porgy & Bess, Vienna
18 – Jazz Dock, Prague
19 – Blue Note, Milano
20 & 21 – Duc des Lombards, Paris

Iverson Sanders Rossy 1Iverson Sanders Rossy 3Iverson Sanders Rossy 2

[Photos by Alessandra Freguja]

If you come to a gig, please say hi!

I Like Harmony

I’m having a rather blissful time listening to the CD American Dream, compositions of Scott Wollschleger played by Bearthoven, a bonafide “piano trio” comprised of Karl Larson, piano, Pat Swoboda, double bass, and Matt Evans, percussion. “Gas Station Canon Song” is for quiet solo piano, “We See Things That Are Not There” is for hesitant piano and vibes, and the dramatic centerpiece “American Dream” is for the complete trio. The performers are all great and the production is top-notch. Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti contributed helpful liner notes.

Sometimes I worry just a little bit about the direction of “post-minimal” American “classical” music, especially if there are “indie” or “rock” references. Of course there are good things, like Caroline Shaw’s Partita and John Luther Adams’s Become Ocean, and I wrote about Michael Gordon’s Sonatra for the New Yorker Culture Desk, but just last week I was at a concert where the minimalist works went over big with the audience yet left me cold.

Wollschleger is “process” oriented, the harmonies and melodies repeat and mutate over time, but the raw materials are notably compelling. Possibly Morton Feldman is Wollschleger’s biggest influence. If you like Feldman, get hip to Wollschleger right now

I admit Scott is also a friend, today we walked in the park together.



Tales of Fantasy and Wonder (Ursula K. Le Guin + Terrance Dicks)

In Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1971 science fiction novel The Lathe of Heaven, a future Portland, Oregon is redrawn according to the dreams of a gentle man who doesn’t want to hurt anybody. Sometimes I worry that old-school SF novels will bore me with endless world-building, but The Lathe of Heaven is earthy and direct, packing a wallop more like a great SF short story.

Mark Turner loves the book so much he named an album for it. My wife Sarah Deming was on a Le Guin kick recently, and read The Lathe of Heaven after I told her Mark was a big fan. She loved it as well, so I finally came to my senses and read it for myself. Highly recommended.

To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven. — Chuang Tzu 

A 1980 PBS production has a cult following. Sarah told me I would dig this made-for-TV movie because, “It’s like old Doctor Who.”  Yeah, the PBS translation is also great, and apparently Le Guin approved of it as well.

Speaking of: Doctor Who fandom has been processing the death of Terrance Dicks last week. Dicks was the script editor for the Jon Pertwee era and wrote a few classic stories of the Tom Baker era including Robot, The Brain of Morbius, The Horror of Fang Rock, and State of Decay. With that, he is in the pantheon for Doctor Who fans already…but there’s also his work offscreen. It is quite extraordinary how so many of us read so many Dicks novelizations for Target Books in the late 70s and early 80s.

I’ve copied the following list of off the Tardis Wiki. The books I read as a boy are in bold.

Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion
Doctor Who and the Day of the Daleks
Doctor Who and the Abominable Snowmen
Doctor Who and the Giant Robot
Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons
Doctor Who and the Planet of the Spiders
The Three Doctors
Doctor Who and the Loch Ness Monster
Doctor Who and the Genesis of the Daleks
The Revenge of the Cybermen
Doctor Who and the Web of Fear
Doctor Who and the Planet of the Daleks
Doctor Who and the Pyramids of Mars
Doctor Who and the Carnival of Monsters
Doctor Who and the Dalek Invasion of Earth
Doctor Who and the Claws of Axos
Doctor Who and the Brain of Morbius
Doctor Who and the Planet of Evil
Doctor Who and the Mutants
Doctor Who and the Deadly Assassin
Doctor Who and the Talons of Weng-Chiang
Doctor Who and the Face of Evil
Doctor Who and the Horror of Fang Rock
Doctor Who and the Time Warrior
Death to the Daleks
Doctor Who and the Android Invasion
Doctor Who and the Hand of Fear
Doctor Who and the Invisible Enemy
Doctor Who and the Image of the Fendahl
Doctor Who and the Robots of Death
Doctor Who and the Destiny of the Daleks
Doctor Who and the Underworld
Doctor Who and the Invasion of Time
Doctor Who and the Stones of Blood
Doctor Who and the Androids of Tara
Doctor Who and the Power of Kroll
Doctor Who and the Armageddon Factor
Doctor Who and the Nightmare of Eden
Doctor Who and the Horns of Nimon
Doctor Who and the Monster of Peladon
Doctor Who and an Unearthly Child
Doctor Who and the State of Decay
Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken
Doctor Who and the Sunmakers
Four to Doomsday
Arc of Infinity
The Five Doctors
Warriors of the Deep
The Caves of Androzani
The Mind of Evil
The Krotons
The Time Monster
The Seeds of Death
The Faceless Ones
The Ambassadors of Death
The Mysterious Planet
The Wheel in Space
The Smugglers
Planet of Giants
The Space Pirates

I can’t remember how I got the money to buy all those books from the Little Professor Bookstore in Menomonie. I was definitely helping keep them in business:  they’d be sure to stock a copy of each one as it came out because they knew ol’ Ethan would be around to grab it before too long.  The books weren’t expensive — under two dollars each, I think — but my parents were broke and I didn’t have much of an allowance. H’mm. I must have saved up any holiday gift money from relatives, plus one summer I mowed the grass at cemeteries with my Dad.

At any rate, any dedicated reader of DTM knows I can be obsessive about collecting information. The work of Terrance Dicks was one of my first “projects.”

These novelizations are not for adults, and truthfully when I’ve looked at one or two recently I can’t quite see why I loved them so much as a child, either. It’s still easy for me to enjoy the prose of brilliant young-adult stylists Ellen Raskin or Daniel Pinkwater (two others I joyfully read as a boy), but Dicks is just getting the job done in brisk and competent fashion.

As with so many dusty artifacts of pop culture, the first high romance must have been a convergence of time, place, and something in the air. Tom Baker says that Doctor Who fans, “Are in love with their own vitality,” and I guess rolling up to the Little Professor to buy Terrance Dicks was a vote of confidence in myself.


When I was “done” with the series, I donated my Terrance Dicks collection to the school library. Yep, that’s tape on my glasses. 

Matthew Guerrieri tribute.

Elizabeth Sandifer tribute.

Productive Household

Fans: Nothing helps us more than preordering the new releases!

Sarah Deming, Gravity, out on November 12 — already two starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist. From the new Make Me a World imprint at Random House curated by Christopher Myers.

Ethan Iverson Quartet with Tom Harrell, Common PracticeA 2017 live date at the Village Vanguard with Ben Street and Eric McPherson. Engineered by Andreas Meyer; produced by Manfred Eicher for ECM; liner notes by Kevin Sun.

A track is up on YT:

August Break

Aug gigs.png

(as above)

If you come to a gig say hi!

I haven’t heard Larry and Al in a piano trio since a nice gig with Renee Rosnes at Bradley’s in…what…1993 maybe? Definitely a hit I’m looking forward to…

Taking the rest of the month off from DTM and my socials…

2019 DTM big pieces so far:

Write it All Down (overview of American Classical Piano Music)

Interview with Mark Stryker and part 2 on saxophonists

Are Polychords Problematic? (for my students)

Theory of Harmony (for my students)

Colin Dexter Diary

Lil Hardin Teaches the Blues (for my students)

Major updates to old pieces on Lennie Tristano, Geri Allen, and James P. Johnson

Guest posts:

The Bard of Bebop (Ira Gitler, by Mark Stryker)

A Depressing Gig (by Desmond White)

A History of the Blues…Scale? (by Asher Tobin Chodos)

coming soon: