Anthem For The Earnest – The Bad Plus

20 Nov

Last night I was lucky enough to have second row seats for The Bad Plus in The Guardian building as part of the London Jazz Festival. I’d seen them play once before a couple of years ago, and the thing that had stuck with me about them was the fact that they were an odd combination, and an incredible performance from the drummer Dave King.

When they walked out onto the stage, their appearance struck me first. The pianist and drummer, both bald, were either side of the bass player. They were more smartly dressed from right to left. Dave King was wearing a t-shirt and jeans, while the bass player, Reid Anderson wore a smart casual button-down shirt and some strange pants. Pianist Ethan Iverson wore a suit.

You should now have an image of the band planted firmly in your head, so lets get down to the music. It’s worth mentioning at this point that throughout the entire performance I found it very difficult to take my eyes off of Dave King. Not only is his talent incredibly obvious, but he wears a huge grin as he hits each drum. The idea that music is a form of expression is totally evident here. Dave King plays as you would expect a kid to play in his room in front of a mirror, with exaggerated movements and unmistakable fun. Often during the songs he would look to Reid Anderson and grin as though the two were sharing a hilarious inside joke. During the softer songs he would look at his drums as he played with a facial expression that says “c’mon guys, please be quiet.” I think maybe I’ve beaten Dave King’s drum enough (sorry). This song, Anthem For The Earnest has a fantastic dominant piano part. It’s interrupted with almost comical intervals of light piano playing that feature throughout the song. Here’s a great live performance of it:

Also, check out this great performance of the band’s cover of the famous Chariots of Fire song:


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