I’ve seen pop-jazz combo The Bad Plus at least a dozen times over the past 15 years, and they’ve never failed to impress. The trio is made up of energetic live performers with a lyrical streak, easily accessible to a nonjazz crowd but always thoughtful and clever. The band first caught the attention of the public with their 2003 cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Fresh considerations of songs by Blondie, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, and Black Sabbath—not to mention sizable crossover audiences and beautiful original work—soon followed.
In 2017, though, the group’s pianist, Ethan Iverson, dropped out of The Bad Plus, citing artistic differences and understandable burnout after a decade of nonstop touring. Drummer Dave King and bassist Reid Anderson have since enlisted new pianist Orrin Evans, a prolific artist with more than 25 solo albums to his credit. The Bad Plus 2.0 will introduce the new lineup to the public with their first extended run of shows at downtown’s Blue Note, performing classic cuts and tracks from the first album they’ve released since Iverson’s departure, Never Stop II. Can the preeminent jazz trio of the modern era keep their groove in concert minus a founding member? There’s only one way to find out.
Why You Should Go: Even if jazz isn’t quite your bag, The Bad Plus may well win you over. For fans of the genre, here’s your first chance to see the revamped group in action.
The Bad Plus
131 West 3rd Street (between Sixth Avenue and MacDougal Street), Greenwich Village
Tuesday, May 29–Sunday, June 3
Sets at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.