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The Bad Plus Live in Pittsburgh


The Bad Plus Live in Pittsburgh, PA
August Wilson Center, Pittsburgh, PA,USA, January 24, 2019
by Lisa Sikon


The Bad Plus (credit: Lisa Sikon)
Let me start by admitting that I am not an expert in jazz and until recently not really a fan. I was introduced to the music of The Bad Plus by a friend, I listened to a cover of Life on Mars, and I was intrigued to hear more from this band. I found out I enjoyed the music and appreciated jazz once I truly listened to the music. I was able to catch this band in Pittsburgh during the Jazz Fest later in the summer of 2017. They did play another cover at that show, but I found the original music just as appealing. So, when I saw they were going to be playing at the August Wilson Center on January 24th, I had to catch this jazz trio again.

The Bad Plus consists of Reid Anderson on bass, Dave King on drums, and the newest member of the trio is Orrin Evans on piano. Orrin took the place of the original band member Ethan Iversen at the end of 2017. The band is out promoting their new album, Never Stop II, and the show tonight was heavy with most of these songs. I expected an older crowd but was surprised at the wide range of ages at the show. The Bad Plus definitely has a following in Pittsburgh.


I have to say my favorite song of the evening was Boffadem, I just loved the bass at the beginning of the song, it just seemed to resonate to my very soul. Salvages was another one that I was just memorized by the music. Occasionally I would spot Dave King adding interesting elements to the songs with children’s musical toys. 1983 Reginal All-Star was upbeat and moving, Safe Passage was energetic and fun. The entire evening was enjoyable, I left with recharged with positive mood.

This is the first jazz show that I have gone that is not part of a festival. I think we should all challenge our music tastes and try a show of a different genre. The Bad Plus definitely crosses the line by doing covers occasionally, but their original music is fantastic. Every member of the band contributes to the music, showcasing different aspects in the songs. As I said, I’m not a jazz expert, but I find the music soothing to my soul. The Augurs Wilson Center was a perfect venue for this band. It’s an intimate, comfortable setting within the cultural district of Pittsburgh. The staff there were wonderful and helpful. They take pride in their venue and it shows. I am definitely a new fan of the Bad Plus and I look forward to the day they return to the ‘Burgh.


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