The Bad Plus

Friday, February 1, 2013  8 p.m.

For the past 10 years The Bad Plus—Reid Anderson, Ethan Iverson and David King—have broken down the walls of jazz convention and created an uncompromising body of work made up of an eclectic combination of avant-garde jazz with rock and pop influences. Few jazz groups in recent memory have amassed such acclaim, and few have inspired such controversy. The members’ belief in the band ethos and their personal brand of avant-garde populism has put them at the forefront of a new instrumental music movement, drawing audiences both traditional and mainstream. While the bulk of the band’s output has been original music, it has deconstructed songs in the pop, rock, country and classical music idioms. The band has also recorded versions of songs by diverse artists ranging from Nirvana, Blondie and Pink Floyd to Neil Young, David Bowie and Black Sabbath. According to a Rolling Stone review of a Bad Plus performance, the band is “about as badass as highbrow gets.”

The upcoming release Never Stop is the first album by The Bad Plus to consist entirely of originals. Recorded in Minnesota with a live, stripped-down sound, Never Stop showcases the band’s range as well as its three distinct personalities. From gentle and melodic to fierce and abstract, from swing to ’80s techno, Never Stop is tied together by a group sound that embraces diversity as strength. Ten years in, The Bad Plus is here to stay.

“Better than anyone at mixing the sensibilities of post-’60s jazz and indie rock.”
—The New York Times

Maria Schneider Orchestra

Jazz Celebration Weekend
Saturday, November 3, 2012  7:30 p.m.

Maria Schneider’s music has been hailed by critics as “evocative, majestic, magical, heart stoppingly gorgeous and beyond categorization.” An internationally renowned jazz composer and conductor, Schneider formed her 17 member orchestra in 1993. A weekly performer at Visiones in Greenwich Village early on, the orchestra has since become a staple at concert venues around the world, earning 2005′s Large Jazz Ensemble of the Year award from the Jazz Journalists Association. Her orchestra’s albums “Concert in the Garden” and 2007′s “Sky Blue” both earned Grammy Awards and were named “Jazz Album of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association and the DownBeat Critics Poll. Schneider has received numerous commissions and guest conducting invites, working with more than 85 groups from more than 30 countries spanning Europe, South America, Australia, Asia and North America.

“I consider Maria Schneider the premier composer of music for the large jazz ensemble in the 21st century, and her Jazz Orchestra is among the finest big bands in the world today,” says Fred Sturm, director of jazz studies and improvisation music at Lawrence. “Her original works contain the most artistic renderings of melody, harmony, orchestration, and structure created by composers in all jazz-related genres over the past decade. Her scores and recordings have dramatically impacted the evolution of the jazz composition art form worldwide.”

“Maria Schneider’s orchestral jazz is about feeling. Like Wayne Shorter, she somehow expresses compassion through tones.”
—The New York Times

Kurt Elling Quartet

Jazz Celebration Weekend
Friday, November 2, 2012  7:30 p.m.

Kurt Elling, easily among the world’s foremost jazz vocalists, performs with the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble. A nine-time Grammy Award nominee and 2009 Grammy winner for “Dedicated To You: Kurt Elling Sings The Music Of Coltrane And Hartman,” Elling has won the DownBeat Critics Poll Male Vocalist of the Year Award an astonishing 12 year (2000-2011) years in a row. Every record he has made has been Grammy nominated. Elling’s rich baritone spans four octaves and features both astonishing technical mastery and emotional depth. His command of rhythm, texture, phrasing and dynamics is more like a virtuoso jazz instrumentalist than a vocalist. His repertoire includes original compositions and modern interpretations of standards, all of which are springboards for inspired improvisation, scatting, spoken word and poetry. This will be Elling’s second appearance at Jazz Weekend, having previously performed in 2003.

“The standout male vocalist of our time.”
—The New York Times

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