The Bad Plus Joshua Redman | Symphony Center | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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The Bad Plus with Joshua Redman

The Bad Plus with Joshua Redman

Courtesy Nonesuch Records

The Bad Plus Joshua Redman 

When: Fri., Oct. 16, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: $28-$89
Aside from backing a few singers, the Bad Plus have mostly remained a self-contained unit for the length of their 15-year run. In jazz, of course, collaboration is practically de rigueur, but pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer David King function as such a close-knit ensemble, playing such tightly arranged, richly developed tunes (and improvising within them), that most potential collaborators would need a prohibitively long time to internalize their workings and find some maneuvering room inside. A few years ago, though, the Bad Plus began a sporadic partnership with saxophonist Joshua Redman, a protean improviser who’s open to all sorts of challenges—he’s played with Chicago jam band Umphrey’s McGee, for instance, and crafts pop-flavored material in his chamber quartet, James Farm. This spring’s The Bad Plus Joshua Redman (Nonesuch) contains original tunes written by all four musicians, including two older faves from the Bad Plus repertoire. Iverson’s hurtling “County Seat” juggles picaresque Americana with jacked-up pre-swing dance rhythms; King’s limber, through-composed “Beauty Has It Hard” pushes and pulls against its own score, almost to the point of exhaustion; and Redman’s kaleidoscopic ballad “The Mending” is embellished by florid runs from Iverson and a searing, halting tenor solo from its composer. Redman fits in smoothly, demonstrating humility when it’s required and letting it rip when given the space. The music is dense yet playful, lively yet contemplative, and always engaging. Now I want to see who else has what it takes to work with the Bad Plus.
— Peter Margasak

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