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Ethan Iverson

A gifted pianist whose style touches upon sophisticated post-bop, classical, and indie rock, Ethan Iverson distinguished himself first as a solo artist and then as a co-founding member of the trio the Bad Plus. Emerging in the early '90s, Iverson released a handful of solo albums, including 1993's School Work, before joining the Bad Plus with bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King. Together they issued a steady stream of lauded albums like 2003's These Are the Vistas and 2008's For All I Care, applying their jazz chops to adventurous originals alongside songs by Nirvana, the Flaming Lips, Rush, and others. In 2015, they earned a Grammy nomination for The Bad Plus Joshua Redman, their live collaboration with the acclaimed saxophonist. Iverson, who left the Bad Plus in 2017, has maintained a fertile solo career, publishing a well-known music blog and releasing albums like 2016's trio date The Purity of Turf and 2021's large-ensemble recording Bud Powell in the 21st Century. He made his Blue Note debut with 2022's Every Note Is True, followed by 2023's Technically Acceptable. Born in Menomonie, Wisconsin in 1973, Iverson became interested in music at a young age and attended the Stanford Jazz Workshop before relocating to New York in the early '90s. During this period, he studied privately with Fred Hersch and Sophia Rosoff. He made his recorded debut in 1993 at age 20 with School Work, playing alongside tenor saxophone giant Dewey Redman, bassist Johannes Weidenmuller, and drummer Falk Willis. In 1998, Iverson's trio released Construction Zone (Originals) and Deconstruction Zone (Standards) in tandem. A 1999 follow-up, The Minor Passions, featured the famous drummer Billy Hart. The concert album Live at Smalls, with saxophonist Bill McHenry and bassist Anderson, arrived in 2000. In 2001, Iverson issued The Bad Plus, the debut eponymous album featuring his trio with longtime friends, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King. The pianist had initially met Minnesota natives Anderson and King in the late '80s and the trio performed on and off for over a decade. However, they didn't officially solidify as a trio until 2000. Together, they each brought a separate array of influences to the band, culminating in the Bad Plus' iconoclastic approach to jazz. Over the next 15 years, the trio would tour and record, issuing a handful of critically acclaimed albums like 2003's These Are the Vistas, 2004's Give, and 2008's For All I Care, which found them rethinking the jazz standards paradigm by covering contemporary popular songs by artists like Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, and others alongside lesser-known jazz compositions and classical pieces. There were also similarly inventive albums of original compositions like 2005's Suspicious Activity? and 2010's Never Stop. Away from the Bad Plus, Iverson continued to stay active, working on projects with saxophonist Chris Cheek, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, singer/pianist Jamie Cullum, and more. In 2012, he joined saxophonist Mark Turner and drummer Billy Hart for All Our Reasons on ECM. A year later, he issued the Lennie Tristano-inspired Costumes Are Mandatory with veteran saxophonist Lee Konitz, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Jorge Rossy. Also in 2013, he paired with drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath and bassist Ben Street for Tootie's Tempo. In 2012, the Bad Plus joined saxophonist Joshua Redman for a week-long stint of recorded shows at New York's Blue Note jazz club. The resulting album, 2015's The Bad Plus Joshua Redman, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Improvised Jazz Solo for Redman's performance on "Friend or Foe." Iverson then released the 2016 trio session The Purity of Turf with veteran bassist Ron Carter and drummer Nasheet Waits. At the end of 2017, Iverson left the Bad Plus, with all three members essentially citing creative differences as the reason behind the change; following his departure, he was replaced by pianist Orrin Evans. Iverson then paired with saxophonist Mark Turner for the duo ECM record Temporary Kings. A live album recorded with trumpeter Tom Harrell, Common Practice, arrived in 2019. Teaming up with the Umbria Jazz Orchestra, the pianist took on the music of the legendary Bud Powell on 2021's Bud Powell in the 21st Century. In February 2022, Iverson made his Blue Note debut with Every Note Is True, a nuanced trio date featuring esteemed veterans Larry Grenadier on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums. A second Blue Note album, Technically Acceptable, arrived in 2024 and found the pianist leading two distinct trio formations; one with Thomas Morgan and Kush Abadey and one with Simón Willson and Vinnie Sperrazza.
© Matt Collar /TiVo


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