Reid Anderson (bass) is a member of the most peculiar piano, bass and
drums trio of the present american jazz. The band, born in 2000, has
two records published. The first one - simply called "The Bad Plus"
- was recorded for the
Barcelona´s label "Fresh Sound" (FSNT - 107 CD). With their
second record they have entered the world of a major label: "These
are the Vistas" (SONY - 2002). The trio is also formed by
Ethan Iverson (piano) and David King (drums). An orthodox jazz trio
(piano, bass and drums) but unorthodox in content. Nirvana, Blondie or
J.S. Bach have "suffered" their particular sound "deconstruction".
By Carlos Pérez Cruz
asking you about “The Bad Plus”, I want you to ask you about your
own career. What is your musical background?
lived in New York for 8 years. Before that I studied classical music at
the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. I’ve put out 3 CDs of
my own for Fresh Sound
;”Dirty Showtunes”, “Abolish Bad Architecture” and “The
Vastness of Space.” I have a strong love of rock and electronic music
and have a songwriting project that I sing and play guitar in. I’ve
also played a lot of jazz over the past few years.
“The Bad Plus” the result of an occasional encounter – from an
occasional gig – or a regular group?
are a full-time band.
it has practically disappeared from the official dossier of the group,
you recorded a previous disk to “These are the Vistas” for the
Barcelona´s label “Fresh Sound New Talent”. A quick leap from a
small label to a major like Sony. Among the advantages are a greater
distribution and promotion but… up to now… which are the
now there aren’t really any inconveniences. We’re getting the
opportunity to reach people with our music on a larger scale than before.
Sony has been fully behind us creatively. We’re very busy and
sometimes are exhausted because of doing interviews in addition to
performing, but that’s just part of the job.
repertoire covers a broad range of aesthetics. Very few standards (I
a lot for it), your own compositions and music from rock, pop or
even from classical composers. The inclusion of that repertoire is a
reflection of your musical tastes or is it due to other reasons?
music fans whose tastes cover a wide range of music. We play music that
we like and we like to play contemporary rock and pop music because it’s
music that we and our audience have a connection to.
don’t like to put labels in music but it is almost an unavoidable
question… Some people say that you are a rock group that plays jazz…
Do you like to define yourself somehow? Or do you leave to others the
task to describe your music?
leave that one up to others. I will say that the elements that we
combine have authenticity. When we play something with a rock feel, it’s
really a rock feel. Not some jazz imitation of a rock feel. And so on
with all the elements that we combine.
use a lot the “construction” and “deconstruction” concepts.
Actually, Ethan Iverson recorded two cds for Fresh Sound with this
concept. ¿Is not the jazz continuum an history of “construction” (compositions)
and “deconstruction” (improvisations over the compositions and
We are part of the jazz tradition.
is dead”, “nobody takes risk”, “jazz stoped his evolution years
ago”… Those are sentences that some jazz fans say. What do you think
about? Do you think that exploring other kinds of music in search of
inspiration is a way to continue to evolve?
R.A: I think jazz is in
very good hands. There are plenty of musicians out there making great
music that is both unique and new. Jazz has always reached out to other
musical styles and used them for its own purposes. I think it’s
important for musicians to be honest with themselves about all of
contemporary culture and art and to play music the way they want it to
be played. There are some people who want to freeze the development of
jazz and only allow it to be one thing and you can hear it in their
music. The rest of us are just trying to communicate beauty through
jazz fans accuse the present American jazz to be too revisionist (under
the leading influence of Wynton Marsalis). Is that the general reality
of jazz in the United States or are they a lot of unknown musicians that
look in different directions?
Marsalis does not speak for or influence any musicians that I know. The
idea that all American musicians blindly follow the doctrines of Mr.
Marsalis is totally absurd. Plus there are plenty of known musicians who
have nothing to do with that school of thought and are in no way “revisionist.”
fans consider that in Europe there is a greater evolution in the
concepts of improvisation (of course there is still a mainstream
orientation strongly rooted in the bop vocabulary). Are you aware or
interested in what is happening now in other countries, musically?
is great music being made all over the world. No one country has a
monopoly on talent and good ideas. We are interested in all good music.
Q: Imagina que te dejan organizar un ciclo de jazz en alguna
ciudad. ¿Qué nombres compondrían el cartel? (o preguntado más
ortodoxamente: ¿qué músicos merecen tu interés en este momento?)
it would not be a “Jazz” festival because I don’t only like jazz.
I would have Radiohead, Bjork, Ornette Coleman, Guillermo Klein, Jason
Moran, Aphex Twin, Autechre, Massive Attack, Bill McHenry, Charlie
Haden, Paul Motian, Keith Jarret, Brad Mehldau, Mark Turner, Kurt
Rosenwinkel, PJ Harvey, U2 and Bob Dylan. Probably a few others. It
would be a pretty big festival…
summer you have a long European tour, which means constant travelling,
exhaustion… What do you do musically to avoid routine – playing day
by day -?
improvisadores, por lo tanto mantenemos las ideas frescas de actuación
can we expect about The Bad Plus in the future? Is it an regular project?
R.A: The Bad Plus is a full time band. We
plan on having a long future together and to keep evolving.
last question: Is love the silence´s answer?