Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Bad Plus + 1 & Empirical 6/24/08


It started with an opening band, which I don’t think anyone was expecting. The JVC jazz guy came out to introduce them and mentioned he had seen them recently in Canada and they are awesome. I think he said they just won the best new band at the North Sea Jazz Festival. They were great and I can see why. They are Empirical from London. They did all originals written by various members of the band. They were all definitely in the jazz genre, but not the same old thing. I was very impressed. I was especially drawn to the piano, but they were all great.

They played for about 45 min, and then there was a 15-20 min intermission. I guess the Bad Plus + 1 came on at about 9:15/20. I had the best seat in the house, front row center. I could see the piano keys and everything else. It was awesome. I had never heard of Kurt Rosenwinkel, but he fit in perfectly. I mean, I would have been happy with just the trio, or even one or 2 of them, but the +1 was definitely extra special. I also picked up their latest cd, prog. I love it. They did a lot of songs from there, many of which they also did at jazzfest. They also did a couple of Kurt’s songs.

Kurt was interesting to watch because he kind of closes his eyes, but his eyebrows and eyelids move rapidly while he’s playing. That’s how close I was. I kept being reminded of the other day on the subway when this woman was talking to me for a few minutes before she got to her stop. Right before she got off, she said she’d pray for me, and then put her hand on my shoulder and had similar eye moments as Kurt was the other night. Hmm, maybe that prayer actually was in touch with a higher being. Really though, he was awesome and it seemed like he was always in the band.

They played for about 90 minutes and then came out for an encore. Classy! They encored with the same song they ended with at jazzfest, which is on prog. It’s called “physical cities” and I love it, especially live. I also love the Tom Sawyer cover on the album.

I think they did an Ornette Coleman tune also. Actually, they are a great cover band. They are up there with The Greatful Dead in my book as greatest cover bands ever. It’s because I don’t really care what they play, they would sound great doing whatever they wanted. They also do the songs their own way. I feel like I’m not supposed to like them because they are too pop, but I love them anyway.

Yeah, JVC Jazzfest has been good to me this year. I think I only went to one show last year, Branford Marsalis + Joshua Redman @ Town Hall. I have one more tomorrow, I’m going to the Rubin Museum. This might be the most I’ve gone to in one year.

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