Ethan Iverson – Technically Acceptable (ENG review)

Blue Note – Street Date January 19th 2024
Ethan Iverson - Technically Acceptable

What we know about this album: This new eclectic project, rich in twists and turns, features Iverson leading two different trios, with the bass/drums teams of Thomas Morgan/Kush Abadey and Simón Willson/Vinnie Sperrazza. They interpret a set of striking new compositions as well as unique versions of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly With His Song” and Thelonious Monk’s “‘Round Midnight,” the latter featuring Rob Schwimmer on the theremin. The album concludes with the world premiere of Iverson’s Piano Sonata, masterfully performed by Iverson himself.
Undoubtedly, there is a bridge between the past and the present, here breathed into by Ethan Iverson, on compositions that invite contemplation and reflection to feel the influences, which are numerous between Ahmad Jamal and Nat King Cole, and the slowdowns reminiscent of albums by Count Basie or Duke Ellington. Hence, one understands what the Blue Note label sees in this artist—the richness of influences and eras that Iverson has explored as a pianist, composer, and critic emerges, often surprisingly and delightfully, throughout “Technically Acceptable.” In the past, Iverson used his leader albums as a means to connect and learn from elders such as Billy Hart or Jack DeJohnette, the latter having participated in Iverson’s first Blue Note album in 2022, “Every Note Is True.” This time, he works solely with younger musicians who find ample space for uninhibited invention even in the concise forms of these short pieces, whose pop precision recalls his days with The Bad Plus.
An impressive composer, an elegant pianist using the imprint of unique strength when it can serve the compositions, an elegant and remarkable album in which the listener can easily slip into and feel at home, with a good coffee in hand to savor the succulent thirteen pieces that make up this album. Thirteen necessary pieces, each distinct, a poetic call to dream, an undefined literature slipping in the background, a music that one visualizes, that one appropriates. Ethan Iverson himself says, “If I measure my own work: I am on a journey, but I don’t think it’s over yet. My first album was called ‘School Work’; maybe in ten years, I’ll create the album ‘Flawless Masterpiece.’ For now, I am ‘Technically Acceptable.'”
An artist seemingly too modest, perhaps it’s an intellectual sleight of hand, but regardless, the reviews from Bayou Blue Radio and Paris-Move make him one of their “Essentials.”

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, January 16th 2024


To buy this album


Tracking list:
1. Conundrum (1:31)
2. Victory is Assured (Alla Breve) (2:39)
3. Technically Acceptable (4:18)
4. Who Are You, Really? (3:25)
5. The Chicago Style (2:37)
6. It’s Fine to Decline (2:58)
7. The Way Things Are (3:50)
8. Killing Me Softly With His Song (3:50)
9. ’Round Midnight (4:22)
10. The Feeling is Mutual (4:15)
11. Piano Sonata: Allegro Moderato (6:30)
12. Piano Sonata: Andante (4:10)
13. Piano Sonata: Rondo (4:42)

Piano Sonata is dedicated to Yegor Shevtsov.
Ethan Iverson is a Yamaha artist.

Proudly presented by the Blue Note/Capitol Team:
Don Was, Rachel Jones, Cem Kurosman, Justin Seltzer, Melissa Cohen, Alex Anastasi, Andrew Craig, David Helfer, Traci Fuller, and Eileen Whelehan

Tour dates:
Jan. 23-28 – Village Vanguard – New York, NY
Jan. 31 – Budapest Jazz Club – Budapest, Hungary
Feb. 1 – Porgy & Bess – Vienna, Austria
Feb. 2 – Jazzclub Unterfahrt – Munich, Germany
Feb. 5 – Victoria Eugenia Theatre – San Sebastian, Spain
Feb. 6 – L’Auditori – Barcelona, Spain
Feb. 21 – Paradox – Tilburg, Netherlands
Feb. 22 – LantarenVenster – Rotterdam, Netherlands
Feb. 23 – BIMHUIS – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Feb. 24 – La Spirale – Fribourg, Switzerland
Feb. 26th – Helsinki (SF), G Livelab
Feb 27th – Tampere (SF), G Livelab
Feb. 28 – Victoria – Oslo, Norway
Feb. 29 – Fasching – Stockholm, Sweden
March 1 – Jazz In Bess – Lugano, Switzerland
March 2 – Jazzclub – Ferrara, Italy
March 4 – Teatro Carambolage – Bolzano, Italy
March 28 – Dazzle – Denver, CO
March 29 – Outpost – Albuquerque, NM
March 30-31 – SFJAZZ – San Francisco, CA
April 1-2 – Earthwise @ The Mitch – Palo Alto, CA
April 3 – Jack London Revue – Portland, OR
April 4 – Kuumbwa – Santa Cruz, CA
April 5-6 – Sam First – Los Angeles, CA