Ethan Iverson

Ethan Iverson is one third of The Bad Plus and the proprietor of Do the Math.

Deep background:  Born February 11, 1973 in Menomonie, Wisconsin -- moved to New York City in 1991 and played dance classes, comedy sports, theatre pits, and in the New York Tango Trio with Raul Jaurena and Pablo Aslan -- studied with Fred Hersch, then Sophia Rosoff -- became music director of Mark Morris Dance Group in 1998 -- was part of late-'90s indie jazz scene along with Bill McHenry, Jeff Williams, Reid Anderson and others, mainly documented on Fresh Sound New Talent, thanks to Jorge Rossy --  worked as a sideman with Kurt Rosenwinkel and Mark Turner in 2000/2001. 

Present day:  The Bad Plus with Anderson and Dave King formed in 2001, the Billy Hart Quartet with Turner and Ben Street formed in 2003, Do the Math debuted in 2005, and in recent years Iverson has collaborated with Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Hank Roberts, Albert "Tootie" Heath, Larry Grenadier, Jorge Rossy, Lee Konitz, and Sam Newsome.

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I reside in Park Slope with my wife Sarah Deming.  After jazz and classical music, my main interests are crime fiction and cult television.

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2012 interview at The 99 Percent by Todd Anderson.

2010 interview for JazzTimes by Lee Mergner.

My 2010 essay for the Guardian about jazz blogging.

2001 NY Times profile by Ben Ratliff.

"Crate Diving" with Willard Jenkins.

With Alex Ross at Gilmore, by Mark Wedel.

2000 NY Times profile of Mark Morris (with Iverson cameo) by Terry Teachout.

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(photo by Cristina Guadalupe)

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A work in progress!  Just for fun, here are fifteen recorded piano performances that are the best I could do at the time, in chronological order:

"Imagination is Important" (Dirty Show Tunes)  I'm rushing like crazy, but still it's a vibe.  My peers were impressed, I remember that.

"Lullaby" (The Minor Passions) Lots of incredible Billy Hart on this record.  I can't listen to it anymore, but this track was pretty special at the time. 

"In Love In Vain" (Live At Smalls)  This isn't good piano playing, exactly, but it sure doesn't sound like anybody else.  Bill and I should have kept this genre going.

"'Round Midnight" (Guilty)  As far as I know, this was the first recording of this song with the correct changes since Monk's.  Imperfect to be sure! But apparently some consider this to be my best jazz performance on record.  I hope to do better someday.

"Boo-Wah" (These Are the Vistas) TBP linked up and consecrated several dimensions of what I was trying to accomplish.  One of those dimensions was composition:  there were better live versions of my best tune of the era, but the studio version of "Boo-Wah" with stellar Tchad Blake production definitely gets the point across.  The whole album still sounds fresh to me.  I will forever remain indebted to Reid and Dave.

"Iron Man" and "Layin' a Strip for the Higher-Self State Line" (Give)  Give me credit for serious outlandishness.  The boogie on Dave's tune is pretty solid piano playing:  I don't think I ever played it as good live.  (Ditto for his later jump tune "1980 World Champion" on Prog.)

"Silence is the Question" and "Heart of Glass" (Blunt Object)  TBP live at this time tried to break pianos.

"Prehensile Dream" and "Lost of Love" (Suspicious Activity)  Two of Reid's greatest songs came out perfectly on this album.  I seem to be in the right space here, and haven't always found my way back.

"Good Bait" (Live at Smalls)  Still getting this style together, but it is on its way. Tootie is awesome. More to come.

"It's Easy To Remember" (bootlegged at the end of "The Paradox of Continuity") I had planned to make a record with Motian but didn't get there in time. Guillaume Hazebrouck transcribed both hands:  It's interesting to see some of what I do looks like.

ÔÇťOhnedaruth" and "Nostalgia For the Impossible" (All Our Reasons)  A thrill to work with an A-class piano and Manfred Eicher.  Comparing "Nostalgia" with "Lullaby" shows how much I've grown.

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The forthcoming TBP album Made Possible has some of my best piano playing on record.  A work in progress!  Thanks for listening, thanks for reading.

03/31/2012