Technically Acceptable

Technically Acceptable

Pianist Ethan Iverson has lived the piano trio tradition, not only with The Bad Plus until 2017, but also with legendary drummers Tootie Heath (Tootie’s Tempo, Philadelphia Beat) and Jack DeJohnette (Every Note Is True) as well as bassist Ron Carter (The Purity of the Turf). His first recordings for Fresh Sound in the late ’90s had the incredible rhythm section of Reid Anderson and Jorge Rossy (Construction Zone, Deconstruction Zone). Here on Technically Acceptable, Iverson’s second for Blue Note, it’s bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Kush Abadey in a captivating program of originals, treatments of Thelonious Monk and Roberta Flack, and the premiere of a three-movement “legit” piano sonata to bring it to a close. Bassist Simón Willson and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza take over on “Killing Me Softly,” “’Round Midnight” (featuring Rob Schwimmer on theremin), and “The Feeling Is Mutual.” Iverson is someone who, like many others, has sought to renegotiate the historical schism between jazz and classical music. It’s most explicit in the moody, polyrhythmic, jauntily melodic sonata, but also implied in the opening “Conundrum,” which is fully notated from start to finish. That said, this trio does improvise, swinging with tremendous acumen and feel, on the Iverson tunes “It’s Fine to Decline” and “Who Are You, Really?”

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