Do You Know What It Means

Curator David Kunian reached out and suggested that I play a visit to the New Orleans Jazz Museum. It’s located on high ground between the French Quarter and Frenchman Street in one the sturdiest of the city’s structures, the Old U.S. Mint.


There are currently exhibits on Professor Longhair


The museum was busy, it was hard to get a photo without many people. Listening to various Longhair tracks was really fun


Let’s get high on medicine


I learned about Fess from the documentary PIANO PLAYERS RARELY EVER PLAY TOGETHER, which is newly re-released with additional interview footage as FESS UP

Women in New Orleans Jazz


not pictured (too much glare): a recent orchestral score by Courtney Bryan


there’s no jazz without women blues singers

and Pete Fountain.


one of my first cassettes was Pete Fountain playing trad classics. I loved it

Among the most remarkable pieces on display are actual instruments played by the founders.


the pianos of Fats Domino and Dr. John


the first cornet of Louis Armstrong (!!!)

There’s a glamorous performing space that has a constant stream of performances, many of which are archived on YouTube.


Running DTM has its privileges. David took me backstage to the “tower,” three floors of archives. After Katrina, the museum had to reset, and to some extent things are in flux. David is currently working on the forthcoming “Drums in New Orleans” exhibit, but many more things come in and out of the main space.


David Kunian holds doorknobs to Mahogany Hall


The actual slide whistle played by Baby Dodds on Hot Fives and Hot Sevens records (!!!)


the trombone of Papa Jack Laine. Some of the earliest jazz circa 1910 was performed on this instrument


the piano of Leon Bismark “Bix” Beiderbecke

I’ve never been a whorehouse piano player, but if I were ever to take that gig, it certainly would be in the tradition. Storyville “Blue Books” are not that hard to find but I’d never actually seen one: A guide to legal prostitution with ads by famous names like Veuve Cliquot. The working girls are sorted by race.


It was a fascinating trip! I wish David and the Museum the very best while continuing to expand and develop a site dedicated to the cradle of jazz.


photo by David Kunian

Submitted Without Comment

Lyrics to “Oleo” by Jim Cox, recorded in the mid-70s.

(First A) Oleo, Oleo! Your hot cakes have never had it better, you know. It’s a spread, that you’re fed, when you feel in your head, maybe your fat is saturated

(Second A) In a tube, in a cube, or squeeze it ‘cause now it even comes in a tube. As a rule, cows are cool, but you know I’m a fool, just for the margarine school (Update: On Twitter, Darcy James Argue suggested that this should start with “in a tub,” not “in a tube.”  Makes sense…)

(Improvised bridge) You know mazola is the only kind of corn, ever you’re gonna find in Sonny’s horn. I mean it’s crazy just to think that there are people today, who still will give an argument that butterfat is the only way

(Last A) Don’t accept, second rate, there ain’t been a better lubrication to date. Be profound, hip your town, to the pleasure you’ve found! You’ve got to spread it around.


(from THE REAL VOCAL BOOK, via Heather Sessler)



Friday, Saturday, Sunday: Four shows of MMDG Pepperland in Berkeley, CA. I’ve been in Zellerbach with Mark Morris many times in the past, and it will be a real thrill to bring Pepperland there. I like the Mark Swed review.

Next week, Miranda Cuckson and I reprise our two midcentury sonatas. When we played the George Walker sonata earlier this year, Mr. Walker was still alive. Now we will offer the work in memoriam.



Temporary Kings (2)

It’s been nice to see so much positive notice of the new record!

In the Wall Street Journal, Martin Johnson finally gave me the pull quote I was waiting for, “[Iverson] has gone from one of jazz’s leading popularizers to one of its leading geeks.” [Wordpress doesn’t seem to support emojis but this is where I would usually insert at least three LOLs]

Ethan Iverson and Mark Turner team up on an austere and elegant album that belongs to a growing field known as chamber jazz..

Tonight and tomorrow we are at Crooners. I was honored that Jon Bream, a legend in Minnesota music journalism, wanted to give me a feature in the Star Tribune.

Former Bad Plus pianist still ‘loves playing in the Midwest’ despite rocketing career.

The Crooners gig is a pick by Britt Robson



And the Jazz Standard on Tuesday is a pick by Giovanni Russonello.

gio temporary kings

Tryan Grillo at the New York Jazz Record is a fan!

NYJR Temporary Kings


I had to laugh at this one:

amazon quote.jpg

If you are a practitioner, it is very important not to pay too much attention to the press.  Good notices are naturally better than bad, but in the end all that stuff is just for the larger machine of “arts career,” not for the artist themselves to sit around and think about. Forward motion is the only answer.

There is a built-in mental “safety brake” in the title of Temporary Kings. Among other meanings, it’s a reference to A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell.

After I tweeted the relevant passage

powell quote

Wesley Stace responded a photo of his first edition. I’m jealous!


The musical character in Dance is Hugh Moreland, who actually dies at the end of  Temporary Kings (the eleventh of twelve books).  Moreland was closely based on  Powell’s friend Constant Lambert.

Last night I played some of Constant Lambert’s Piano Sonata for Mark Turner before the gig at Constellation in Chicago. Mark was cautiously impressed by the harmonies that foreshadow modern jazz to a shocking degree. Good. That little exchange (with a collaborator I value so highly) made me feel like learning the first movement for London Jazz Fest in November is actually a cool move…

Temporary Kings

ECM 2583 is Temporary Kings, a duo with Mark Turner.

ECM link.

With Temporary Kings two of the most distinct voices on today’s jazz scene present their debut on record as a duo: Engaging in inspired dialogue Mark Turner and Ethan Iverson here explore aesthetic common ground in the atmosphere of a modernist chamber music-like setting at the Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI, Lugano. The saxophonist and the pianist had begun their association in the Billy Hart Quartet, where the two players featured sympathetically on two ECM albums by that band. The new duo album now contains six originals by Iverson (among them the nostalgic solo tune “Yesterday’s Bouquet”) and two by Turner (including “Myron’s World,” which has acquired near-classic status among contemporary jazz players). There’s an off-kilter blues (“Unclaimed Freight”) and a strikingly melodic, almost Ravelian opening track dedicated to the town where the album was recorded under ideal sonic conditions (“Lugano”), plus an interpretation of Warne Marsh’s playfully serpentine “Dixie’s Dilemma.”

We are going on tour in America in two swings:


And later in October in Europe. (More on that soon.)

New Yorkers don’t miss the Jazz Standard on Tuesday September 18 it’s going to be GREAT!!! 

Most of my compositional contributions to Temporary Kings can be seen at The Page Has No Sound.


Major Washington Post coverage, thank you Chris Richards!

Link to article, but Chris also tweeted a photo of the print:



Sound Stage Experience — review by James Hale

Jazz Trail – review by Filipe Freitas

Dusted – review by Derek Taylor

Greenman — review by Gary Whitehouse

Rifftides — review by Doug Ramsey

I’m sort of stunned by Dan Ouellette’s profile, “Ethan Iverson: Dynamo at the Crossroads,” in the October DownBeat. Dan talked to Mark Morris, Mark Turner, and Billy Hart for the article.

Link to profile within full mag.

Download PDF:

Ethan Iverson feature – DownBeat

Lo-res photos of the piece:

DanO profile 1Dan O profile 2Dan O profile 3Dan O 4


Very special thanks to Manfred Eicher! And everyone else at ECM. There’s a big team in Munich, but I must especially tip my hat to the New York City ECM all-stars Tina Pelikan and Sarah Humphries. This is partly how it works: Mark and I have a gig: Sarah Humphries thinks ahead to a possible, still unconfirmed record date: Sarah asks local pro Robert Lewis to bring his camera to soundcheck: Now, two years later, we have great photos to go with the CD, press, and tour.

Also, Dan Ouellette works with his editor Bobby Reed at DownBeat. Chris Richards got a go-ahead from his editor at WaPo. There are art directors and other moving parts to create a compelling article at every major publication.

Mariah Wilkins is in charge of the duo’s bookings. Thank you so much Mariah you are AWESOME.

At every tour stop there is a local promoter taking a chance, plus a staff working for love and only a bit of money.

Every person, everywhere, is required for the big picture to work. Sincere thanks to all.