Orrin Evans


How is the jazz community in Philadelphia responding to the global pandemic? Jazz Night in America found a few different answers to that question. 

Autumn brings a cornucopia for jazz fans. 

Must-have albums, can’t-miss festivals, sounds both old and new. WBGO has gathered 88 highlights for your enjoyment, with expert commentary. (Pumpkin spice sold separately.)

There’s no taking pianist Orrin Evans out of his comfort zone. He’s just so musically articulate. Consider all the music he’s made with a trio, with his Captain Black Big Band, with Tar Baby, with The Bad Plus — or an upcoming duet recording with a longtime Philadelphia buddy, guitarist Kevin Eubanks.

The 61st Annual Grammy Awards are this Sunday, Feb. 10. 

And ever since the nominees were announced a couple of months ago, there has been talk of upsets and other surprises — especially in the Album of the Year category, which has expanded from five to eight artists, making predictions that much more of a sucker's game.  

Colin Marshall / NPR

It isn't typically news when a jazz group makes a change in personnel. But The Bad Plus isn't a typical jazz group, and its announcement, this time last year, landed like a bombshell. In short: Ethan Iverson, the band's pianist, would be leaving to pursue his own projects. Orrin Evans, an esteemed peer, would be stepping in. For a group that has always stood for musical collectivism — and never accepted any substitutions — this was a shakeup of existential proportions.

Josh Goleman / Courtesy of the artist

For the last 17 years, The Bad Plus has been a model of musical cohesion. Its members — bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer David King — have been an indivisible front, welcoming the occasional guest but never a substitute, according to the strictest ideal of a working band. As the saying goes, it has always been larger than the sum of its parts.