Do the Math: Began in 2005, reboot V.2 2010, reboot V.3 2015.
My email address is connected to the TinyLetter account but please don’t be offended if I don’t respond to prodding, even if your incoming tweet or email is comprised of nothing but praise or good intentions. The title of Gary Graffman’s book says it all: I Really Should Be Practicing.
Quick press bio:
Pianist, composer, and writer Ethan Iverson was a founding member of The Bad Plus, a game-changing collective with Reid Anderson and David King. The New York Times called TBP “…Better than anyone at melding the sensibilities of post-60’s jazz and indie rock.” During his 17-year tenure TBP performed in venues as diverse as the Village Vanguard, Carnegie Hall, and Bonnaroo; collaborated with Joshua Redman, Bill Frisell, and the Mark Morris Dance Group; and created a faithful arrangement of Stravinky’s The Rite of Spring and a radical reinvention of Ornette Coleman’s Science Fiction.
Iverson also has been in the critically-acclaimed Billy Hart quartet for well over a decade and occasionally performs with an elder statesman like Albert “Tootie” Heath or Ron Carter. For over 15 years Iverson’s website Do the Math has been a repository of musician-to-musician interviews and analysis, surely one reason Time Out New York selected Iverson as one of 25 essential New York jazz icons: “Perhaps NYC’s most thoughtful and passionate student of jazz tradition—the most admirable sort of artist-scholar.”
More recently Iverson has been writing about jazz for the Culture Desk of the New Yorker:
In 2017 Iverson premiered the score “Pepperland” for the Mark Morris Dance Group and co-curated a major centennial celebration of Thelonious Monk at Duke University. In 2018 Iverson will be premiering an original piano concerto with the American Composers Orchestra and releasing a duo album with Mark Turner on ECM.
Born February 11, 1973 in Menomonie, Wisconsin – moved to New York City in 1991 and played dance classes, comedy sports, theatre pits, and in the New York Tango Trio with Raul Jaurena and Pablo Aslan – studied with Fred Hersch, then Sophia Rosoff, – became music director of Mark Morris Dance Group in 1998 – was part of late-’90s indie jazz scene along with Bill McHenry, Jeff Williams, Reid Anderson and others, mainly documented on Fresh Sound New Talent, thanks to Jorge Rossy – worked as a sideman with Kurt Rosenwinkel and Mark Turner in 2000/2001.
The Bad Plus with Anderson and Dave King formed in 2001, the Billy Hart Quartet with Turner and Ben Street formed in 2003, Do the Math debuted in 2005. In recent years Iverson has performed with Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Hank Roberts, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Larry Grenadier, Jorge Rossy, Nasheet Waits, Lee Konitz, Ron Carter, Tom Harrell, Ron Miles, Chris Cheek, Seamus Blake and Sam Newsome.
Iverson’s 30-minute solo piano score for Dance Heginbotham, “Easy Win” (2015) and the string quartet movement for Brooklyn Rider, “Morris Dance” (2011) are through-composed.
“Pepperland” for the Mark Morris Dance Group is an evening length work meditating on the classic Beatles album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. When crafting the original masterpiece, Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, Starr and Martin took cues from classical, jazz and world music, resulting in a complex set of songs that have always remained far too hard for the average cover band. Iverson’s score for an unprecedented chamber music ensemble of voice, theremin, soprano sax, trombone, and two keyboards will teases out and elaborates on Pepper’s non-rock and roll influences. Arrangements of half a dozen songs from the album intermingle with Pepper-inspired original pieces intended especially for Morris’s profound understanding of classical forms: Allegro, Scherzo, Adagio, and the blues.
His current piano teacher is John Bloomfield of the Dorothy Taubman tradition. Iverson resides in Park Slope with wife Sarah Deming.
2016 photos by Jimmy Katz: