Jazz trio rounds out music series

By: Kevin Thomas ~Staff Writer~

Photo courtesy of npr.com | The Bad Plus, a jazz trio, will finish this year’s music series this Friday at 8 p.m. in the Gallagher Theatre.

The final note of the Xavier Music Series will be a positive one as The Bad Plus will come to Cincinnati for the first time in their career. They will be playing in the Gallagher Theatre at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m., with the JD Allen Trio opening.

The band has been playing together since 1989, but has only gone by “The Bad Plus” for the last 16 years.

Based out of New York City, The Bad Plus is an avant-garde jazz trio composed of bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer David King. In August, the group released its 12th studio album, It’s Hard, which contains covers of songs from a variety of artists, including Peter Gabriel, Cyndi Lauper, Johnny Cash and Prince.

The Bad Plus is a jazz trio, though they are unlike any other.

“The acoustic jazz trio is jaw-dropping, face-melting, hair-raising, gob-smacking… but when the doors close on a concert hall where Ethan Iverson, Reid Anderson, and David King are performing, it’s as if the space is vacuum-sealed and the relaxed threesome onstage are the only ones equipped with oxygen,” according to a review on the International Music Network.

Polina Bespalko, director of the Xavier Music Series, said that The Bad Plus will make an impact on the Xavier community with the show.

“I felt like, compared to everyone else on the season this year, [The Bad Plus] will definitely stand out as being more experimental,” Bespalko said. “They definitely avant-garde, and they have great experience working with universities.”

The Bad Plus has had experience working with universities. From 2010 to 2011, they served as artists in residence at Duke University.

The JD Allen Trio, who will be opening for The Bad Plus, is fairly well known, too. J.D. Allen, the head of the group and tenor saxophonist, has made waves of his own in the jazz world. His 2011 album Victory! was lauded as one of the top three jazz albums of the year by NPR, and Down Beat, a magazine dedicated to jazz and the blues, gave it four stars. Allen currently lives in Cincinnati.

All in all, Bespalko is excited on the effect that these two trios will have on the Xavier community.

“They’re definitely the people who would inspire a lot of musicians and just students in general,” Bespalko said.