On June 13th, 2019, when “Jazz te Gast” Zuidhorn in the North West part of The Netherlands was already preparing for the big show, I had the huge honor to interview this years Artist in Residence, Ethan Iverson, in one of the most beautiful livingrooms I ever had been so far. “Jazz te Gast” is a very intimate one day international Jazz festival, free for all audiences and presenting outstanding new projects on eight stages in the private gardens at the little village Zuidhorn's main street.
The first edition of Jazz te Gast hosted Michael League as an Artist in Residence in 2015, followed by Dave Douglas two years later. Pianist, composer, writer, critic and educator Ethan Iverson was a founding member of the legendary trio “The Bad Plus”, a so called game-changing collective feat. Reid Anderson on bass and Dave King on drums. Between 2000 and 2017, the year Ethan Iverson left “The Bad Plus”, these fabulous three recorded 14 albums, collaborated with artists like Joshua Redman, Bill Frisell and Wendy Lewis. This Indie-PowerJazz Trio became very well known through their very special way of interpretating songs by Nirvana (Smells Like Teen Spirit, Lithium), Abba (Money Money), Peter Gabriel (Games Without Frontiers), Prince (The Beautiful Ones), Pink Floyd (Comfortably Numb), Heart (Barracuda), Wilco (Radio Cure), Yes (Long Distance Runaround) and Kraftwerk (The Robots) for example. Next to their own compositions “The Bad Plus” surprised with an outstanding monumental recording of Igor Stravinsky's ballet and orchestral concert work “The Rite of Spring” (Le Sacre du printemps) in 2014.
Ethan Iverson was the musical director for the Mark Morris Dance Group and became a student of Fred Hersh, Sophia Rosoff and John Bloomfield. Until now he recorded 3 albums with the Billy Hart quartet on ECM Records, followed by a duo recording (Temporary Kings, 2018) with Mark Turner, also on ECM Records and produced by ECM founder Manfred Eicher. For more than 14 years Iverson's own website “Do The [email protected]” has been a repository of musician-to-musician interviews and analysis, surely one reason Time Out New York selected Iverson as one of 25 essential New York jazz icons:
“Perhaps NYC’s most thoughtful and passionate student of jazz tradition—the most admirable sort of artist-scholar.”
Please enjoy our very special one-hour conversation we had in Ben van Deel's livingroom in Zuidhorn, the Netherlands. Many thanks to Geert Drion, Ben van Deel and of course, to Ethan Iverson!
Cover picture by Bernd Ihno Eilts/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2019.