Born in Menomonie, Wisconsin in 1974, Iverson became interested in music at a young age and attended the Stanford Jazz Workshop before relocating to New York in the early '90s. During this period, he studied privately with Fred Hersch and Sophia Rosoff. He made his recorded debut in 1993 at age 20 with School Work, playing alongside tenor saxophone giant Dewey Redman, bassist Johannes Weidenmuller, and drummer Falk Willis. In 1998, Iverson's trio released Construction Zone (Originals) and Deconstruction Zone (Standards) in tandem. A 1999 follow-up, The Minor Passions, featured the famous drummer Billy Hart. The concert album Live at Smalls, with saxophonist Bill McHenry and bassist Anderson, arrived in 2000.
In 2001, Iverson issued The Bad Plus, the debut eponymous album featuring his trio with longtime friends, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King. The pianist had initially met Minnesota natives Anderson and King in the late '80s and the trio performed on and off for over a decade. However, they didn't officially solidify as a trio until 2000. Together, they each brought a separate array of influences to the band, culminating in the Bad Plus' iconoclastic approach to jazz. Over the next 15 years, the trio would tour and record, issuing a handful of critically acclaimed albums like 2003's These Are the Vistas, 2004's Give, and 2008's For All I Care, which found them rethinking the jazz standards paradigm by covering contemporary popular songs by artists like Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, and others, alongside lesser-known jazz compositions and classical pieces. There were also similarly inventive albums of original compositions like 2005's Suspicious Activity? and 2010's Never Stop.
Away from the Bad Plus, Iverson continued to stay active, working on projects with saxophonist Chris Cheek, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, singer/pianist Jamie Cullum, and more. In 2012, he joined saxophonist Mark Turner and drummer Billy Hart for All Our Reasons on ECM. A year later, he issued the Lennie Tristano-inspired Costumes Are Mandatory with veteran saxophonist Lee Konitz, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Jorge Rossy. Also in 2013, he paired with drummer Albert Tootie Heath and bassist Ben Street for Tootie's Tempo.
In 2012, the Bad Plus joined saxophonist Joshua Redman for a week-long stint of recorded shows at New York's Blue Note jazz club. The resulting album, 2015's The Bad Plus Joshua Redman, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Improvised Jazz Solo for Redman's performance on "Friend or Foe." Iverson then released the 2016 trio session The Purity of Turf with veteran bassist Ron Carter and drummer Nasheet Waits. At the end of 2017, Iverson left the Bad Plus, with all three members essentially citing creative differences as the reason behind the change. Following his departure, he was replaced by pianist Orrin Evans. Iverson then paired with saxophonist Mark Turner for the duo ECM album Temporary Kings. A live album recorded with trumpeter Tom Harrell, Common Practice, arrived in 2019. Teaming up with the Umbria Jazz Orchestra, Iverson took on the music of the legendary Bud Powell on 2021's Bud Powell in the 21st Century. ~ Matt Collar, Rovi
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