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The Bad Plus in Residence

Posted: 11/12/2010

Are the Bad Plus a pop- and rock-influenced jazz trio? Or are they a power trio who like to play jazz?

A bit of both, as Skidmore students and faculty joyfully discovered during the trio’s recent residence, another remarkable installment of the Sterne Virtuoso Series.

Bassist Reid Anderson, drummer Dave King, and pianist Ethan Iverson worked with music students in individual master classes, conducted a jazz combo coaching session with Senior Artist-in-Residence John Nazarenko’s jazz students, and displayed their iconoclastic jazz template with a concert for the public in the Arthur Zankel Music Center. 

The New York Times has said the band is "better than anyone at mixing the sensibilities of post-60's jazz and indie rock," and Rolling Stone called its music "about as badass as highbrow gets."  Its influences in rock include Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, and Rush; in jazz John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk, and in classical music Gyorgy Ligeti, Milton Babbitt, and Igor Stravinsky. The band recently commemorated the 100th birthday of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring by covering the piece through what pianist Iverson described as an "integration of jazz, rock, and electronica drumming traditions in densely abstract harmonic designs.”

The Bad Plus comes to Skidmore as part of the Sterne Virtuoso Series. Dedicated to presenting virtuosi guest performances in piano or strings, the series is funded through a generous bequest from alumna Jean Sterne '32.

Photos by Sam Brook'12, Nicholas Liu-Sontag'11 and Chris Weigl'11.