Common Practice (Live At The Village Vanguard / 2017) Ethan Iverson Quartet

Cover Common Practice (Live At The Village Vanguard / 2017)

Album info



Label: ECM Records

Genre: Jazz

Subgenre: Contemporary Jazz

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)

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  • 1The Man I Love (Live At The Village Vanguard / 2017)06:26
  • 2Philadelphia Creamer (Live At The Village Vanguard / 2017)05:59
  • 3Wee (Live At The Village Vanguard / 2017)05:46
  • 4I Can’t Get Started (Live At The Village Vanguard / 2017)06:36
  • 5Sentimental Journey (Live At The Village Vanguard / 2017)04:33
  • 6Out Of Nowhere (Live At The Village Vanguard / 2017)06:32
  • 7Polka Dots And Moonbeams (Live At The Village Vanguard / 2017)06:01
  • 8All The Things You Are (Live At The Village Vanguard / 2017)05:51
  • 9Jed From Teaneck (Live At The Village Vanguard / 2017)06:31
  • 10I’m Getting Sentimental Over You (Live At The Village Vanguard / 2017)05:10
  • 11I Remember You (Live At The Village Vanguard / 2017)06:25
  • Total Runtime01:05:50

Info for Common Practice (Live At The Village Vanguard / 2017)

The latest ECM album to feature pianist Ethan Iverson – following last year’s duo recording with saxophonist Mark Turner, Temporary Kings, and two lauded discs with the Billy Hart Quartet – presents the Brooklyn-based artist at the head of his own quartet in a program of standards and blues, recorded live at Manhattan’s famed Village Vanguard. Iverson’s quartet for Common Practice features as its prime melodic voice the veteran Tom Harrell, who was voted Trumpeter of the Year in 2018 by the U.S. Jazz Journalists Association. Iverson extols the quality of poetic “vulnerability” in Harrell’s playing, particularly in such ballads as “The Man I Love” and “Polka Dots and Moonbeams,” two of the album’s highlights. Common Practice also courses with an effervescent swing, thanks to the top-flight rhythm team of bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric McPherson, whose subtle invention helps drive Denzil Best’s bebop groover “Wee” and two irresistibly bluesy Iverson originals.

The latest ECM album to feature pianist Ethan Iverson – following last year’s duo recording with saxophonist Mark Turner, Temporary Kings, and two lauded discs with the Billy Hart Quartet – presents the Brooklyn-based artist at the head of his own quartet in a program of standards and blues, recorded live at Manhattan’s famed Village Vanguard. Iverson’s quartet for Common Practice features as its prime melodic voice the veteran Tom Harrell, who was voted Trumpeter of the Year in 2018 by the U.S. Jazz Journalists Association. Iverson extols the quality of poetic “vulnerability” in Harrell’s playing, particularly in such ballads as “The Man I Love” and “Polka Dots & Moonbeams,” two of the album’s highlights. Common Practice also has a buoyant swing, thanks to the rhythm team of bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric McPherson, whose subtle invention helps drive Denzil Best’s bebop groover “Wee” and two irresistibly bluesy Iverson originals, “Philadelphia Creamer” and “Jed from Teaneck.”

Reflecting on the contextual theme of Common Practice, Iverson says: “The first night I came to New York in the fall of 1991, I was an 18-year-old from Wisconsin. I had never been to the big city, but I knew I loved jazz. That night, I went to the Village Vanguard, and there was a quintet there – with Joe Lovano, Tom Harrell, John Abercrombie, Rufus Reid and Ed Blackwell – playing great jazz. It was one of those unforgettable nights. My new album, Common Practice, is a love letter to that kind of straight-ahead New York City jazz. It features Mr. Harrell on trumpet – he’s a master musician of an elder generation – and two contemporaries of mine, Ben Street and Eric McPherson, who are dedicated swingers. This album is about swinging, about playing standards. I’ve been involved with a lot of modern jazz that’s about deconstructing the history. I think it’s really important to do that – you have to find something new. If you’re not going to look for something new, maybe you shouldn’t even be involved in the arts… But at some point, many artists try to reassess the tradition and their heritage, and this album is about that tradition, that heritage.”

There was no sheet music for this record, Iverson explains: “There was a list of songs, and we played a couple of blues pieces that weren’t notated – it was all about a common language that the four of us share. After a week at the Vanguard, we had all agreed on what our roles were in the ensemble. We found those roles through the gig, and we rolled tape on arrangements that had real structure – but organic structure that came about through live performance.” Common Practice opens with George Gershwin’s “The Man I Love,” given an expansive, especially ruminative treatment. In his liner notes to the album, Kevin Sun notes: “At 70, Harrell still has the dexterity of youth during his pristine double-time runs, but his delivery of the ‘The Man I Love’ is as naked and unguarded as one might ever hear. The spectral introduction is a recognizable Iverson trademark, with curated dissonances casting shadows beneath simple melody.” The pianist adds: “ ‘The Man I Love,’ from 1924, is the oldest Gershwin tune in the standard repertoire, almost a century old now. It has been played so many times that it can be a challenge to play a truly new version. The piano intro I play on it is very different, idiosyncratic. I think it sets up a fresh palette for Tom to play that a really beautiful rendition of that famous melody.”

Although Iverson’s pianism is shrewdly, poetically apposite throughout Common Practice – witness his rhapsodic touches in the solo intro and ending of “I Can’t Get Started” – his playing is often remarkably restrained. He says: “Some jazz pianists like to treat a rhythm section like an orchestra in a concerto: ‘Just give me a beat, and I’ll go to the stratosphere of my own virtuosity.’ I’d like to do that – someday. But for this record, I wanted to work in the middle, to help things gel.” Along with swinging treatments of “All the Things You Are,” “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You,” “Out of Nowhere” and “I Remember You,” the album includes a funky, Monk-ish take on “Sentimental Journey” fully led by Iverson, although Sun notes that the tune is “a faded postcard from the big-band era that gives Harrell the chance to dip into the Roy Eldridge bag for a moment.” Iverson says: “Tom has a commitment to the jazz tradition that’s deep. At the same time, I think he’s committed to surprising himself. He follows a melody to an unexpected place.” Referencing Harrell’s affecting way with a ballad like “Polka Dots & Moonbeams,” the pianist adds: “He’s very vulnerable up there on stage. It’s kind of like when you see an older movie with an action hero like Steve McQueen or Lee Marvin – they’re tough guys, but you can see in their faces that they’re hurting. Tom has some of that in his own way.”

As for the quartet’s rhythm section, Iverson says: “It’s deep what Ben and Eric do with the beat. It’s not just four quarter-notes in the bass and a ride-cymbal pattern – it’s something mystical, spiritual. Ben is an old friend, a big teacher of mine. I’ve learned a lot about this music from him, and I really trust him. He suggested Eric for this, and I had always liked his drumming, having heard him play a lot in the Fred Hersch Trio. His time feel is both ancient and modern… None of us is approaching straight-ahead jazz like we want it sound like 1955 or 1945 or 1965. We’re playing in the 21st-century. But what I hope gives it depth is a commitment to the tradition, and when it comes to Ben and Eric, it’s about esoteric aspects of that tradition, nothing academic.”

Since Iverson came to New York City from the Midwest, he has worked with artists from Lee Konitz, Albert “Tootie” Heath and Ron Carter to Joshua Redman, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Tim Berne, along with serving as music director for the Mark Morris Dance Group. Then there was Iverson’s 17-year, 14-album tenure as one-third of The Bad Plus, the genre-bounding trio that he co-founded with bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King in 2000. The pianist teaches at the New England Conservatory, and he has established Do the Math as one of the foremost blogs in jazz over the past decade. After their final set at the Vanguard, Harrell mentioned to Iverson that he thought the group’s sound felt new, despite the vintage repertoire. In his notes, Sun concludes that jazz “is actually numerous concurrent histories and communities where towering personalities come and go, stories and legends are passed down, and much is ultimately forgotten while only a fragment remains. For Iverson, a long-held dream is realized here in his overlapping of the traditional and the avant-garde, the premodern and the postmodern, and the old and the new meeting at a single point.”

Ethan Iverson, piano
Tom Harrell, trumpet
Ben Street, double bass
Eric McPherson, drums

Ethan Iverson
(born February 11, 1973 in Menomonie, Wisconsin) is a pianist and composer best known for his work in the post-modern piano trio, The Bad Plus, with bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King.

Prior to the forming of TBP, he was the musical director for the Mark Morris Dance Group and a student of both Fred Hersch and Sophia Rosoff. He has worked with artists such as Dave Douglas, Bill McHenry, Dewey Redman, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Billy Hart, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Mark Turner, Yo-Yo Ma, Mark Padmore, and Charlie Haden.

Ben Street
is a New York-area jazz double-bassist. He has played with many great jazz artists, notably Kurt Rosenwinkel on the Album "Next Step," Ben Monder on the Album "Dust" and the legendary Sam Rivers on the Album "Violet Violets."

He studied the Acoustic Bass with the former Weather Report bassist Miroslav Vitous.

He is the son of Saxophonist and Saxophone mouthpiece maker Bill Street and is native of Maine.

He has an appreciation of New Zealand white wines, amongst others.

Eric McPherson
A native of NYC, Eric McPherson came to prominence apprenticing with legendary saxophonist and educator, Jackie Mclean, and innovative pianist and composer Andrew Hill. Those foundational experiences cultivated Eric into one of the leading drummers in contemporary creative music. Eric continues the legacy of the musical giants who came before him. As well as performing and teaching internationally with an array of today’s leading contemporary creative musicians, Eric teaches privately and at the University of Hartford’s, Jackie Mclean institute.

Dayna Stephens
Recent recipient of the number-two spot for the 2017 DownBeat Critics Poll in the category “Rising Star—Tenor Saxophone”, Dayna Stephens has garnered critical acclaim over the years for his playing, compositions and arrangements. DownBeat’s James Hale describes Gratitude, the saxophonist/composer’s eighth release as a leader, as a “highly cinematic listening experience, full of roiling seas and shifting skies.” Brad Faberman cites Dayna as the JazzTimes Editor’s Pick, writing, “His big, warm lines are full of notes and intent but also gusts of wind, bodies of water.” A review from JazzScene Magazine’s Alex W. Rodriguez praises the record’s distinctive personnel: “This album showcases some of today’s finest musicians at the height of their craft, anchored by Stephens’ humble magnetism. The musicians exude a patient, persistent quality in their collective exploration, with the melodies unfolding into searching improvisations throughout.”

Playing with pureness of intention, Dayna admits he’s always searching to find what’s “singable.” That search often results in live improvisations and written compositions that challenge traditional concepts of harmony, pushing phrasing and sending beautiful and unintentional melodies in unlikely directions. Dayna’s soulful lines have resonated through the halls of such internationally renowned venues as the Village Vanguard, Blue Note Jazz Club, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Birdland, Yoshi’s, The Blue Whale, Marians Jazzroom in Switzerland, Blue Note Milano, Philharmonie de Paris, Le Duc des Lombards, Red Rocks and San Francisco Jazz Center—and recently earned him Rhythmic dialogue excites the Brooklyn-born Bay Area-raised artist, as both an improviser and a written composer. His creative expression leads him to uncover different rhythmic interpretations of harmonic ideas as part of a spontaneous interchange with other players. These evolving interpretations help serve Dayna’s commitment to authenticity of the moment, whether he’s playing live or in the studio. And his rhythmic inquiry has earned him the attention and admiration of some of the music’s most beloved drummers—many of whom have collaborated with him on recordings, on the bandstand and on the road, including Brian Blade, Al Foster, Idris Muhammad, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Billy Hart, Marcus Gilmore, Bill Stewart, Marvin “Boogaloo” Smith, Eric Harland, Matt Slocum, Johnathan Blake, Jaimeo Brown, Victor Lewis, Lewis Nash, Jorge Rossy, Jeff Ballard and Justin Brown.

Dayna has traveled and recorded with a cross section of such distinctive voices, including pianists Brad Mehldau, Fred Hersch, Billy Childs, Geoffrey Keezer, Taylor Eigsti, Muhal Richard Abrams, Kenny Barron, Theo Hill, Gerald Clayton and Aaron Parks; trumpet players Roy Hargrove, Tom Harrell, Sean Jones, Terell Stafford, Brian Lynch, Ambrose Akinmusire and Michael Rodriguez; saxophone players Wayne Shorter, Jaleel Shaw, Ben Wendel, Chris Potter, John Ellis and Walter Smith III; bass players Ben Street, Rufus Reid, Kiyoshi Kitagawa, Joe Sanders, Linda Oh, Doug Weiss, Larry Grenadier and Harish Raghavan; vocalists Gretchen Parlato, Becca Stevens and Sachal Vasandani; and guitar players John Scofield, Julian Lage, Charles Altura, Mike Moreno, Lage Lund, Pete Bernstein and Carlos Santana.

To hear his music is to fall in love with whatever instrument Dayna uses to channel his ideas. Through a tendency toward experimenting with both tone and texture in a harmonic context, he embraces a range of instruments—and their varying degrees of warmth—including double bass. A master of tenor, soprano and baritone saxophones and, more recently, Nyle Steiner’s EWI (electric wind instrument), Dayna’s openness and sensitivity as an artist have allowed him to stretch as a composer and arranger. Through the years, he has earned opportunities to create and interpret pieces for, among other aggregations, San Francisco’s Peninsula Symphony Orchestra, Berklee College of Music and the Oakland East Bay Symphony—the latter of which he wrote a wide-screen arrangement of Dave Brubeck’s “The Duke” that premiered at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre for its 2013 Celebration of the Music of Dave Brubeck Concert.

A graduate of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, where he studied under artistic icons Terence Blanchard, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, Dayna began his formal studies with a full scholarship at Berklee College of Music in Boston. As an undergraduate, he was diagnosed with the rare kidney disease focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). In June 2009, Dayna began a course of dialysis that lasted for six years, grounding him in the New York area and preventing him from touring internationally until his aunt stepped in to donate her kidney for a transplant in October 2015.

And with the release from physical suffering, arrives the jubilation and humble awareness of an interconnected self that helped shape Gratitude, Dayna’s first self-produced recording on his brand new label Contagious Music. Featuring compositions that share soulful and sophisticated melodies, including music from Aaron Parks, Pat Metheny and Dayna himself, Gratitude serves as a gentle and powerful awakening of a universal spirit in an era of division. Personnel includes Brad Mehldau, Julian Lage, Larry Grenadier and Eric Harland. Dayna’s label Contagious Music will be releasing pianist/composer Eden Ladin’s debut recording in October.

Booklet for Common Practice (Live At The Village Vanguard / 2017)

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