Through Years of Endless Springs

The press release for TBP plays Stravinsky:


Commissioned by Duke Performances the work debuts on Saturday, March 26, at Reynolds Theater, Duke University

February 8, 2011, Durham, NC – The Bad Plus has been commissioned by Duke Performances to create a reappraisal and rearrangement of Igor Stravinsky’s iconic Rite of Spring.  This undertaking is co-commissioned by New York’s world-renowned Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.  The world premiere of this groundbreaking work will be performed by The Bad Plus on Saturday, March 26, at 8 pm in Reynolds Theater in the Bryan Center at Duke University. 

For the past ten years The Bad Plus—bassist, Reid Anderson; pianist, Ethan Iverson, and percussionist, David King—have created a wealth of critically acclaimed work.  With nine releases since 2000, the group has received acclaim from sources such as The New Yorker (“The Bad Plus are the Coen Brothers of jazz”), Rolling Stone (“as badass as highbrow gets”), The Village Voice (“If the stars align, they will mow you down”), CMJ (“somewhere between refreshing and downright awe-inspiring”) and Billboard (“purists tremble while the vanguard flocks”).

The project sprung from the collective minds of members of The Bad Plus and Duke Performances’ director, Aaron Greenwald.  The challenge was to transform Stravinsky’s iconic orchestral work, one that famously caused a riot at its Paris premiere, into a compelling work for a trio known for bending and breaking genres. 

While The Bad Plus has previously arranged and performed Stravinsky’s “Variation d’Apollon” along with work by Ligeti, Nirvana, Wilco and Pink Floyd, taking on the task of arranging the entire Rite of Spring is both a monumental challenge and part of a natural progression for a group relentlessly in pursuit of the best of music.

Composed and arranged over the course of a year plus, the performance will be accompanied by a multi-media presentation by architect Cristina Guadalupe and filmmaker Noah Hutton.

In addition to the foregoing commission, The Bad Plus has been working with Duke graduate student composers and has engaged in artists-in-residence activities both on campus and in the community.  The trio’s engagement with Duke graduate composition students centers on the group’s reading, performing, and critiquing students’ original work.  This ongoing process, which includes three one-week residencies for the group, will culminate in The Bad Plus performing and recording student compositions. 

This unprecedented and ongoing commission and residency project represents a bold step for the trio as well as Duke Performances, an organization already nationally known for adventurous, forward thinking programming. 

WHO:  The Bad Plus
WHAT: On Sacred Ground: Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring
WHEN:  Saturday, March 26, 8 pm
WHERE:  Reynolds Theater, Bryan Center, Duke University
HOW MUCH:  $34 • $26 • Duke Students $5


On Feb. 23 I'm participating in recital celebrating the music of Vivian Fine, Miriam Gideon and Louise Talma.  More info here.  I'll put up the full program notes next week.  This concert is going to be a spectacular one-off;  anyone interested in Sophia Rosoff or her teaching must go.

March 1 through 6 I'll join Larry Grenadier and Paul Motian at the Village Vanguard, playing  standards, bebop tunes, and some originals (especially by Paul). 

Larry and I haven't played together all that much, but I always really enjoy it. 

Felix Rossy did a bootleg recording of a quartet gig last year with Konitz, me, Larry, and his dad Jorge.  One trio moment worked out well, and both Larry and Jorge said it was fine to post on DTM.


After Larry begins with a few choruses on "Stella by Starlight,"  Jorge and I come in, expecting to support or dialogue with Lee.  But Lee lays out, and this "comping" becomes a kind of "anti-solo."  At the end of the excerpt, Jorge lets loose with some intense blowing over Larry's incredible groove.  This is entirely acoustic, by the way:  not even a bass amp.

Larry and Paul can be heard together on the wonderful On Broadway Vol. 4:  Or the Paradox of Continuity.