17 January 2011

NYE in NYC III: Bad Plus @ Village Vanguard

I finished up my mini metropolitan music marathon with an evening with the Bad Plus at the Village Vanguard. It was the first place I had ever seen them, whenever that was. It was also the sight of the last time I tried to see them a couple of years ago, but alas I was sold out. So it had been since I saw them at the RIJF in 08. Way too long. That was two albums ago and they were premiering their new For All I Care material with Wendy Lewis for the first time. Needless to say I was very excited. Technically I guess it was the third show I was seeing that day. Not a shabby start to the year...

Their new album, Never Stop, unlike their last, is all originals. And likewise, this show, unlike that last time I saw them, was nearly all originals, and totally devoid of any rock covers, just a pair of jazz standards. Since it was a while between shows, it was tough to tell if they had changed much, or if this show was just out of the ordinary being the early set after NYE and all, but they were much looser than usual. Stretching things out, playing around with different themes, and even their dress was looser. No tie for Ethan? Reid looked like he was ready for a day on the couch. It was a set that was beautifully riddled with Reid's numbers, the highlight of which was an epic (even by his standards) new one that plodded it's way from near death march all the way to techno dance beat in a span of 20m or so. It may just have been the best music I will hear all year. Not a shabby start to the year indeed.

Crossing my fingers for a return of the Bad Plus to RIJF this year. I can't wait that long again.

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