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Q&A: The Bad Plus’s Ethan Iverson Does Not Want to Hear "Jingle Bell Rocks" Ever Again If He Can Help It

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Q&A: The Bad Plus’s Ethan Iverson Does Not Want to Hear "Jingle Bell Rocks" Ever Again If He Can Help It

Cameron Wittig

The Bad Plus

Ten years ago postmodern punk-jazz trio the Bad Plus recorded their first album after playing together just three times, and now Reid Anderson, Ethan Iverson and David King (l. to r. in the photo) are celebrating their first decade as a band with the album Never Stop--their first collection of all original compositions—and a six-night engagement at the Village Vanguard, where they were originally discovered by a label rep.

The threesome from Minneapolis—who inspire adjectives from music critics like “virtuosic” and “telepathic”—will be at the Vanguard from December 28-January 2, including New Year’s Eve, which is bound to involve plenty of hijinks. As the band prepped for the run, we checked in with pianist Iverson.

Do you remember the first time you played an NYC gig?

Our first NYC show was cancelled due to 9/11. Then we played Roulette and the Knitting Factory. But the really memorable one was a night at the Village Vanguard, in summer of 2003, which led directly to getting a whole week there and being signed to Columbia Records.

Holiday music: Scourge of humanity or underrated guilty pleasure?
Scourge of humanity! Absolutely. Enough already. Especially the Americana ones like "Jingle Bell Rock." At least the old carols have great modal melodies.

If you were to write a holiday song, what would it be about?
I've written a couple over the years. They are always about the dark side of Christmas.

Do you make New Year's resolutions? What are they for 2011?
I think staying off the computer more is a good one, don't you?

The Bad Plus, December 28-January 2 at 9 and 11PM (one set only on New Year’s Eve at 9:30PM), at the Village Vanguard, 178 7th Avenue South, 212-255-4037. Tickets are $25.00 per set plus one drink minimum on all nights except December 31, which is $150. Purchase tickets here.

--EB

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