Jazz trio The Bad Plus has remained a constant trio for the past 17 years, but soon, they’ll get a little Philly flavor, courtesy of a new member who will be playing Philadelphia Jazz Festival this year.
Philadelphia-based jazz pianist Orrin Evans is the group’s newest member, according to a posting on The Bad Plus’ Facebook page. Members Reid Anderson (bass) and David King (drums) will stay on with the group, while Ethan Iverson (pianist) will depart following his final show with the group on New Year’s Eve at Village Vanguard in New York City.
The band did not give a reason for Iverson’s departure, but in an interview with 88.3 WGBO-FM, the pianist said that will leave at the start of next year due to “long-simmering internal tensions” within The Bad Plus.
“It just gets hard to keep relationships going after 17 years that are as fun and as cool as they were at the beginning,” Iverson said.
The group started in 2000 as a trio out of Minneapolis, Minn., and released their eponymous debut in 2001. Their most recent album, It’s Hard, the group’s twelfth, was released last year via Okeh Records.
In 2018, Iverson will move on to recording an album with saxophonist Mark Turner, as well as writing a piano concerto for the American Composers Orchestra, WGBO reports. Iverson also says he will continue to write on his blog, Do The Math.
Evans, a former instructor at the Germantown Friends School known for his work with Tarbaby and the Captain Black Big Band, will debut with the group in Jan. 2018 at a gig in St. Louis, according to WGBO. He will also record a new album with the group, which the Bad Plus says they hope to have out by the time Evans’ first gig with them rolls around.
For his part, Evans, who was born in Trenton and raised in Philly, says the fit is a natural one.
“Reid [Anderson] was one of the groomsmen at my wedding,” Evans told WGBO. “I remember when the Bad Plus started. And Dave [King] has always been around and he’s always been really nice. I’m not walking into a new place spiritually or emotionally at all.”
Anderson echoed Evans’ sentiment, telling the radio station that the group “didn’t have to think about” adding him to the lineup.
“Orrin is an incredible pianist and a really powerful spirit,” Anderson said, “and I think we share a certain outsider-weirdo aesthetic.”
While Evans won’t officially be joining The Bad Plus until next year, folks can still catch the pianist out at Philadelphia Jazz Festival this year. Evans will perform with the Orrin Evans Trio on Sunday, April 23 at South (600 N. Broad St.), and again on Tuesday, April 25 with the Philly All Star Band, also at South.
The Philadelphia Jazz Festival itself will run April 23 through April 30.