Common Practice

Ethan Iverson Quartet

CD18,90 out of print
EN / DE
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.
Das neueste ECM-Album mit dem Pianisten Ethan Iverson – nach der letztjährigen Duo-Aufnahme mit dem Saxophonisten Mark Turner, Temporary Kings, und zwei allenthalben gelobten CDs mit dem Billy Hart Quartett – präsentiert den in Brooklyn lebenden Künstler an der Spitze seines eigenen Quartetts in einem Programm aus Standards und Blues, das live im Manhattaner Jazzclub Village Vanguard aufgenommen wurde.
Iverson’s Quartett für Common Practice Praxis beinhaltet als wichtigste melodische Stimme den Veteranen Tom Harrell, der 2018 von der U.S. Jazz Journalists Association zum Trompeter des Jahres gewählt wurde. Iverson preist die Qualität poetischer "Verletzlichkeit" in Harrells Spiel, insbesondere in Balladen wie "The Man I Love" und "Polka Dots and Moonbeams", zwei der Highlights des Albums. Dank des hochkarätigen Rhythmusteams aus Bassist Ben Street und Schlagzeuger Eric McPherson, dessen subtiler Einfallsreichtum dazu beiträgt, Denzil Best’s Bebop-Groover "Wee" und zwei unwiderstehlich bluesige Iverson-Originale voranzutreiben, vibriert Common Practice vor mit überschwänglichem Swing.
Featured Artists Recorded

January 2017, Village Vanguard, New York

  • 1The Man I Love
    (Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin)
    06:26
  • 2Philadelphia Creamer
    (Ethan Iverson)
    05:59
  • 3Wee
    (Denzil Best)
    05:46
  • 4I Can't Get Started
    (Ira Gershwin, Vernon Duke)
    06:36
  • 5Sentimental Journey
    (Bud Green, Benjamin Homer, Les Brown)
    04:33
  • 6Out Of Nowhere
    (Edward Heyman, Johnny Green)
    06:32
  • 7Polka Dots And Moonbeams
    (Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen)
    06:01
  • 8All The Things You Are
    (Oscar Hammerstein II, Jerome Kern)
    05:51
  • 9Jed From Teaneck
    (Ethan Iverson)
    06:31
  • 10I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
    (Ned Washington, George Bassman)
    05:10
  • 11I Remember You
    (Johnny Mercer, Victor Schertzinger)
    06:25
This album answers jazz’s current existential question—should we swing or not?—with an emphatic affirmative. Yet it doesn’t sound nostalgic or even terribly conventional, owing to the relaxed and elastic feel achieved by this rhythm section. […] Mr. Iverson’s own wit and accumulated wisdom underscore these arrangements, which were negotiated on the bandstand. […] Mr. Harrell’s playing is finely detailed and immediately charismatic, qualities accentuated not only by Mr. Iverson’s quartet but also Mr. Eicher’s production. Unlike many live recordings, which can sound flat or unbalanced, the music here is lovingly captured and engineered to create a satisfyingly immersive effect. The only thing that likely sounds just as it did at the Vanguard on those January 2017 evenings is the raucous audience applause, which was richly deserved.
Larry Blumenfeld, The Wall Street Journal
 
Es gibt keine Zukunft ohne Vergangenheit. In der Kunst meint diese Banalität: jede Innovation wächst aus einem Fundus, aus kollektiven und individuellen Erfahrungen. Das voraussetzungslos Neue ist eine Illusion. Kühne Flüge ins Unerhörte heben allemal vom Boden des Überkommenen, Übernommenen ab – und sei’s im Widerspruch dazu. Um etwas zu negieren, muss man es erst einmal zur Kenntnis nehmen. So ist ein Album wie das jüngste, das Ethan Iverson, bis 2017 Pianist des Kulttrios The Bad Plus, im Quartett mit dem fast dreissig Jahre älteren Trompeter Tom Harrell und einer Rhythmusgruppe seiner Generation (dem Bassisten Ben Street und dem Drummer Eric McPherson) im New Yorker Club ‘Village Vanguard’ aufgenommen hat, totz seines Repertoires aus fast lauter ‘Standards’ keineswegs ein antiquarisches oder gar reaktionäres Unternehmen, vielmehr, nicht anders als Keith Jarretts Trio gleichen Namens, zeitgenössischer, aktueller, inspirierter Jazz, der aus der Reibung mit den alten, endlos interpretierten Vorlagen die überraschendsten Funken schlägt. […] Namentlich der Pianist beherrscht die Gratwanderung zwischen kühnen Verschiebungen und schrägen Unterfütterungen der alten Ohrwürmer und deren Beschwörung in Perfektion, und Harrell verbindet wie keiner eine Postbop-Virtuosität mit einer warmen, melodiösen Trompetenkunst im Sinn von songs without words. Street und McPherson bilden eine ebenso swingende wie überraschende, flexible Rhythmik.
Peter Rüedi, Weltwoche
 
Leading a simpatico new quartet, pianist/composer Ethan Iverson channels energies to a set of charming renditions of Great American Songbook cornerstones alongside two originals, whose bluesy nature goes perfectly well with the rest of the material. While teaming up with bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric McPherson in the rhythm section, the pianist didn’t hide his appreciation for having ace trumpeter Tom Harrell spearheading the melodic department. ‘Common Practice’ is a heartfelt tribute to New York’s straight-ahead jazz. Iverson and his peers stroll through the polished surfaces of jazz standards, combining the mastery of fundamentals with an openness to embrace new textures and harmonic directions. […] To better clarify our readers, what he have here is more than simply straight-ahead readings of popular songs and blues. There are old pieces sounding new again. Thus, with an obvious bind with tradition, the album is never less than stirring and satisfying.
Filipe Freitas, Jazz Trail
 
Recorded live at the Village Vanguard in January 2017, ‘Common Practice’ showcases trumpeter Tom Harrell, whose warm, inviting tone and outstanding solos enliven this set of standards. With bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric McPherson setting the perfectly symbiotic tone on gentle ballads and all-out swingers, pianist Ethan Iverson’s playfully subversive penchant for reharmonization, baroque extrapolation and other unpredictable twists and turns subtly impacts the proceedings. […] Throughout the program, Iverson simultaneously offers a heartfelt love letter to standards while spray-painting his own tag all over them. The star here is Harrell, and the man behind the curtain is Iverson.
Bill Milkowski, Downbeat
 
Following his expansive 2018 duo album with saxophonist Mark Turner, ‘Temporary Kings’, pianist and former Bad Plus member Ethan Iverson offers an intimate concert collaboration with trumpeter Tom Harrell on 2019’s ‘Common Practice’. Recorded live at New York’s famed Village Vanguard in 2017, ‘Common Practice’ finds the inventive keyboardist joining forces with Harrell, as well as his longtime rhythm section associates bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric McPherson. Whereas ‘Temporary Kings’ showcased a mix of original compositions, here Iverson and Harrell move through a set of well-curated standards in the style of classic jazz albums of the ’50s and ’60s; albeit in their own harmonically inventive fashion. […] an endlessly engaging listen.
Matt Collar, All Music
 
‘Common Practice’ shows the depth and complexity of Ethan Iverson’s musical interests proving that there are plenty of new things to say on classic jazz and standard tunes when you have a great rhythm section with the addition of Tom Harrell.  Harrell, now in his 70’s maintains a firm command of the trumpet, the history of the music, and his harmonic knowledge makes his solos always interesting. ‘Common Practice’ is hard swinging, and the tunes chosen show why they continue to endure in the present day, and how they can be a wellspring for musicians in a potent cross generational meeting.
CJ Shearn, Jazz Views
 
Regelmäßig entstehen im New Yorker Jazzclub Village Vanguard musikalisch überragende Aufnahmen. Auch jetzt wieder: Ethan Iverson, der mit The Bad Plus einen eher ruppigen Stil pflegte, zeigt auf ‘Common Practice’ seine zurückhaltende, einfühlsame Seite. […] Erstens gibt sich sein Quartett völlig unmodern dem Swing der Themen hin, zweitens – nun zeitgenössisch – destilliert es deren Kern in einer sorgsam reduzierten Umgebung heraus. Der Trompeter Tom Harrell, Jahrgang 1946, krönt dieses Konzept mit einer Palette von brüchigen, rauen, weichen, strahlenden, impulsiven und bedächtigen Klängen. Und das ist keineswegs gängige Praxis, das ist außergewöhnlich.
Werner Stiefele Audio
 
A romantic, seductive record, radiating a warm glow through affable meditations.
Paddy Kehoe, RTE
 
Like looking at a great painting or reading a classic novel, this deceptively simple album reveals new facets with each listening.
George Kanzler, New York City Jazz Record
 
With Ethan Iverson at the piano, any session is bound to be an excursion into the unknown, or at least the unexpected. He has the knack of making quite outrageous ideas seem perfectly logical. This time he is joined by veteran trumpeter Tom Harrell, whose soft, dry tone and sudden silences give a curiously brooding quality to much of his playing. Both are at their best and most characteristic in Gershwin’s ‘The Man I Love’. The whole quartet, including bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric McPherson, shines in the Latin-flavoured ‘Wee’ (derived from ‘I Got Rhythm’), and I love the decidedly contrary treatment of ‘Sentimental Journey’ – Doris Day’s first hit, from 1945. If it weren’t for the occasional burst of applause, you’d never guess that this was recorded at a New York jazz club, the Village Vanguard. It has the clarity and ambient perfection of all ECM albums.
Dave Gelly, The Observer
 
Harrell is in immaculate form, and together with Ben Street on double bass and Eric McPherson on drums, the quartet shine an intoxicating light on the tunes they perform, making this a truly wonderful album. […] One of my favourite albums of the year so far, ‘Common Practice’ should appeal to many. This is jazz of the highest standard, performed with subtlety and vision, with a great atmosphere and endearing nature, it just gets better and better the more I listen to it.
Mike Gates, UK Vibe
 
Openingsnummer ‘The Man I Love’ is meteen al van een grote schoonheid. Iversons spaarzame noten zijn net iets anders dan je verwacht, zoals hij ieder bijna doodgespeeld nummer subtiel een nieuwe impuls geeft. En als de donkere klank van Harrells trompet als een warme deken over Gershwins compositie heen glijdt voel je een lichte siddering.
(The opening song ‘The Man I Love’ is of great beauty right from the start. Iverson’s frugal notes are just a little bit different from what you would expect, as he subtly gives a new impulse to every song that otherwise has been almost played to death […]. And when the dark sound of Harrell’s trumpet slides over Gershwin’s composition like a warm blanket, you feel a slight tremor.)
Gijsbert Kramer, De Volkskrant
 
Das Quartett von Ethan Iverson agiert hellwach an der Seite von Tom Harrell. Den Trompeter live zu erleben, ist nicht weniger als ein Geschenk.
Georg Waßmuth, Südwestrundfunk
 
As postmodernist as he can be, Iverson carries a deep passion for the jazz tradition, exercising that side of his talent with the remarkable Billy Hart Quartet and as a professor at the New England Conservatory. With ‘Common Practice’, his first album with his eponymous quartet, he indulges that passion fully. Interestingly, while this could have been a perfect opportunity to show off his own virtuosity, Iverson chooses to act as bandleader more than featured performer. That spotlight falls instead on trumpeter Tom Harrell, a longtime leader in his own right with a sublimely tasteful touch. ‘The Man I Love,’ a nearly-century old Gerswhin ballad, showcases Harrell at his most Chet Bakeresque, sticking close to the melody and adding enough feeling to make each note count, never sinking into melodrama. Acting as the moderator between Harrell and the relaxed swing of bassist Ben Street and drummer Eric McPherson, Iverson provides comping so austere it’s almost minimalist, letting his bandmates earn any close attention. […] Drawing less on his work with The Bad Plus and more on his time with Billy Hart, Iverson uses ‘Common Practice’ as a vehicle for interests outside of deconstruction and avant-garde whimsy. His next trick should be melding his interests into a unified whole; combined with his deft keyboard touch and ability to get inside a tune, that will make some undeniable fireworks. But if for some reason he decides to continue drawing from the well of standards, ‘Common Practice’ proves he has the ability and the vision to do it, and do it well.
Michael Toland, Rock and Roll Globe
 
Tom Harrells Trompete, ob er nun, wie in George und Ira Gershwins ewigem ‘The Man I Love’ eine Ballade auf die Gefühlsspitze treibt oder im mittleren Tempo des Iverson-Stücks ‘Philadelphia Creamer’ sein Instrument mirakulös flirren lässt: Dieser magischen Trompete muss das hörende Ohr in jeder noch so feinen Regung folgen.
Steff Rohrbach, Jazz’n’More
 
‘Common Practice’ bietet ausschließlich Blues und Standards, aber Iverson interpretiert sie auf abenteuerliche Weise. Mit Ben Street (Bass) und Eric McPherson (Schlagzeug) unterzieht er die Evergreens einer vor Spannung berstenden Belastungsprobe; Rhythmen werden in kollektivem Austausch durcheinandergewirbelt, Harmonien bis in dissonante Grenzbereiche ausgereizt. […] Dazu spielt Harrell zutiefst anrührende Soli, die in ihrer Fragilität an den späten Chet Baker erinnern. Sein Trompetensound umhüllt die Härte des Metalls mit hauchiger Zartheit. Während Iverson, der Denker, eher ungeahnte harmonische Möglichkeitne auslotet, dringt Harrell zum emotionalen Kern der Stücke vor.
Georg Spindler, Mannheimer Morgen
 
Any recording that features trumpeter Harrell demands study, especially when he’s heard with the translucent accompaniment of pianist Iverson’s quartet. The musicians deconstruct jazz standards to poetic effect, sprinkling the repertoire at this 2017 Village Vanguard date with Iverson originals. The intimacy of the music-making stands out; you feel as if you’re in the room.
Howard Reich, The Chicago Tribune
 
Mit seinem neuen Quartett blickt Iverson nun zurück in die frühen Jahre der Moderne,  als traditionell geradeaus gespielt wurde. So funktioniert Jazz, möchte man sich über die Gesamtspielzeit dieser wundervollen Live-CD vor sich hin freuen und wäre gern dabei gewesen an diesen Abenden im Club. […] Alles funktioniert in dieser beeindruckenden Liveperformance-Jazzlehrstunde, denn für Tom Harrell ist Ethan Iverson der ideale Partner. Er ist in dieser Tradition zu Hause und kann sie pianistisch ausleuchten  im Bandkontext und als Solist. Er hat dieses gleichermaßen Poetische wie Schelmische, dieses sparsam Hintersinnige, Abgezockte, über das man einfach nur staunen kann. Was für ein Pianist!
Ulrich Steinmetzger, Freie Presse
 
Weil hier ein Avantgarde-erfahrener Pianist, eine exzellente Modern Jazz-Rhythmusgruppe und ein Old School-Trompeter im Konzert sich gemeinsam zurücknehmen und eine gemeinsame Schnittmenge finden, funktioniert diese Band und kann selbst so gefühlvoll gestrickte Songs wie ‘Sentimental Journey’ oder ‘I Can’t Get Started’ noch zum coolen Leuchten bringen.
Heribert Ickerott, Jazzpodium
 
Two highly individual soloists, Iverson and Harrell, mean that it’s not just a blowing session. What a superb trumpeter Harrell is. There’s a vulnerability in his playing, apparent on ballads such as ‘The Man I Love’ and ‘I Can’t Get Started’ – both taken at a glacial tempo, but full of feeling – but also on mid-tempo performances like ‘I’m Getting Sentimental Over You’. The pianist is a master of the unobvious move. A highlight is Denzil Best’s ‘Wee’ in calypso rhythm, and a gorgeously plangent, oblique ‘Out Of Nowhere’. […] Harrell’s solos in particular, in their apparent simplicity, pathos and melodic beauty, are some of the finest you’ll hear among this year’s releases. As it’s ECM, the live recording is palpably present.
Andy Hamilton Jazz Journal
 
This is one of the most lovely recordings of standards of recent years.
Michael Ullman, Fanfare
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.”
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