Stories » The Bad Plus make their 2.0 debut in D.C. at Blues Alley / Washington Post

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The Bad Plus make their 2.0 debut in D.C. at Blues Alley / Washington Post

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Five months after the Bad Plus 1.0's farewell D.C. appearance, the Bad Plus 2.0 made their debut D.C. appearance: Friday night at Blues Alley. The difference was substantial. Original pianist Ethan Iverson had quit the trio (leaving bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King), to be succeeded by established master Orrin Evans. At the farewell gig, even knowing Iverson's departure was imminent, it was easy to hear the band as the collective effort they'd always intended. With the new lineup, however, all ears were on Evans - what he brought to the trio and how he fit in.

The Bad Plus clearly knew that. They opened the set with two tunes from their 2003 breakthrough (with Iverson), "These are the Vistas." Evans's touch on "Big Eater" and "Keep the Bugs Off the Glass and the Bears Off Your Ass " was somehow both softer and steelier than his predecessor's; his tones were more opaque, but without hitting the keys quite as hard. On "Bugs," Evans also demonstrated a deep knowledge of jazz's folk idiom: His solo spilled without fuss into sublime blues work.

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