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"Jazz It Up" with Ethan Iverson of the Bad Plus

"Jazz It Up" with Ethan Iverson of the Bad Plus

Date: Jun 08 2009

Themes: Celebrity, Music

Intro

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2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

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Ethan Iverson, pianist for acoustic jazz trio the Bad Plus, admits that the band “rocks out” on stage. They also play rock clubs and do their own versions of songs by Nirvana, Radiohead and the Bee Gees, among others. All of these things make them one of the most hip and popular jazz acts in the world.

Whenever they cover a song, they put their own spin on it. It sounds totally new. They really jazz it up, not just by making it a jazz song, but by adding a flair the original version doesn’t have.

Now based in New York, the band is originally from Wisconsin, farm country in the middle of the US. These days, they pack up their stand up bass and play their complex compositions as well as improvised music all over the world. This week, they are touring Brazil before a show in Germany (click here for tour dates). Listen to Ethan talk with Jason about the band’s new album, For All I Care, on which they jazz up songs by 11 different artists.

Dialog

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.

Jason

Jason

Ethan

Ethan

Jason:  You guys are about to go to Brazil. It’s a place with a lot of jazz culture. Is it different than playing other places?

Ethan:  We’ve played Brazil a few times and always really enjoyed it. South America in general is a very warm audience.

Jason:  Do you guys work in any bossa novas or anything into the set?

Ethan:  No, we don’t play any Brazilian music, in part because we have too much respect. We don’t want to intrude on their territory.

Jason:  Very cool. Almost all of your new album is rock songs. But there’s a couple classical songs thrown on there too. What do you think ties it together?

Ethan:  What’s important there is that it’s 20th century classical music, in other words, the avant-garde. And there’s the sound of the avant-garde in our music anyway.

Jason:  I was thinking about what you guys do with sort of how you take these tunes and you jazz them up. And so I thought maybe that would be a good idiom for you to teach.

Ethan:  The idea of reinterpretation or cover has, you know, been around a long time. Classical musicians actually, like…Beethoven, would write a variation on a famous opera tune of the day. And then, in the first part of the 20th century, jazz musicians would take the popular songs and improvise off them. You take the melody and the chord changes and you sort of work out your own version of it. So when the Bad Plus plays rock covers, it’s not a straight cover, but it’s something that sounds like the Bad Plus.

Jason:  The phrase to jazz something up isn’t always used with jazz or with music. How would you use it just in regular daily life?

Ethan:  Well, I think you make it sparkly or give it some excitement to jazz something up.

Jason:  Right on.

 

Quizzes

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Lesson MP3

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Discussion

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Ethan explains that the phrase “jazz it up” comes from when the first jazz musicians would play their own versions of popular songs of the time. But you don’t have to play jazz, or even play an instrument, to jazz something up.

Any time you make something better, you jazz it up. If you hang some new pictures in your office, one of your co-workers might say, “Thanks for jazzing the place up a little!” If you help your friend make her essay for school more fun to read, you helped her jazz it up. A similar phrase is spruce it up, only it usually means to make something nicer, while if you jazz something up, you give it more excitement.

When the Bad Plus plays Brazil this week, they won’t be doing any bossa novas. They don’t think Brazilian music needs any jazzing up. What needs jazzing up in your life?

Visit the Bad Plus’ official website and see if they’re coming to your town soon!

 

Comments

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ttsuka

ttsuka

Japan

I want to jazz up all aspects of my life, who wouldn’t like more excitement, right? But somehow it’s a scary thought – having excitement everywhere I go all the time. It would be like you are always in a Hollywood movie, in which things develop into something out of proportion in an hour’s time or so. I don’t know whether I can maintain my sanity if the rest of my life is filled with developments and changes with that kind of tempo and unexpectedness. 

04:35 AM Feb 16 2014 |

bahes

bahes

Turkey

He has different,nice music style =)

09:45 AM Jul 27 2010 |

Tew

Tew

Thailand

Jazz up your life with a different kind of music. Just open your mind to listen .. you will heard some music you never heard

02:30 AM May 14 2010 |

adler202

adler202

Haiti

i like music a lot

08:36 PM Apr 06 2010 |

kpl

kpl

Taiwan

i think a acoustic music can  also be a flair music and   rock out peoples' heart straightly , though is not a  avant -garde. you can jazz it up by putting your own spin on it ,even though it's not bossa nova .And a good singer would perform well by coverring a song .

08:47 AM Apr 02 2010 |

laurazhang

laurazhang

China

I think when I meet some trouble on learning sth,I should try my best to jazz it up.It can make me interested on that.

12:34 AM Nov 13 2009 |

Songriah

Songriah

China

I need to jazzing up in my life, perhaps eariler sleep and earier getting up. Learning more about everything good everyday!

08:40 PM Oct 15 2009 |

303Kevin

303Kevin

China

learn a lot both in music and grammar..thanks

05:50 AM Oct 15 2009 |

waittingyou

China

i like dance~

07:01 PM Oct 11 2009 |

penny_love_en

China

I still don’t know what is meaning”jazz it up “

01:21 AM Oct 09 2009 |

yaula

Azerbaijan

i dont like juzz so much.But here juzz is popular

08:57 AM Sep 24 2009 |

Stitch

Stitch

Taiwan

I don't know much about Jazz, but I enjoy it!

11:59 PM Sep 21 2009 |

EnglishLove

Belgium

Jazz is very nice music. relaxing.

11:57 PM Sep 21 2009 |

only_rock

only_rock

Azerbaijan

hi all

02:03 AM Aug 18 2009 |

only_rock

only_rock

Azerbaijan

I DONT LIKE JAZZ,I LIKE R O C K

08:56 PM Jul 28 2009 |

Fran Green

Fran Green

Ukraine

My poems need jazzing up 'cause they have pretty similar themes… :)

11:22 AM Jul 27 2009 |

coolman1

United Arab Emirates

 

 

I would like to jazz my birhtday up with dancing and music 

it will be soo exciting

09:57 AM Jun 28 2009 |

Gucci Lady

Gucci Lady

United Arab Emirates

I need to jazz up my English cuz its sucks

09:05 AM Jun 23 2009 |

tiagon85

Brazil

I´m always trying to jazz something up and don´t lose my happiness, it´s nice living the life in a funny and responsible way, not just being happy with yourself but make someone else happy too, that´s the feeling.

02:25 PM Jun 14 2009 |

VOLTS

VOLTSSuper Member!

Brazil

bossa nova could not be jazz it up but there are some nice versions like that in Garota de Ipanema with Tom Jobim e Frank Sinatra http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Joj7rwxs1Sw

12:41 AM Jun 13 2009 |

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