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The Bad Plus: Give (2004)

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The Bad Plus: Give No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

After a year the Bad Plus is back with a second major label release. Give can be seen as a continuation of the group's previous record, These are the Vistas. On the new album the trio continues working with an eclectic mixture of various influences that range from 19th century impressionist and romantic Europeans composers to alternative rock of the '90s passing through various styles of jazz. The first can be heard specially in the playing of pianist Ethan Iverson on tunes as "Frog and Toad," "Dirty Blonde," and "Neptune (The Planet)," which is also the piece with the most traditional sound for the piano, bass, and drums trio format a la Keith Jarrett or Bill Evans.

Latin music makes its presence in "Cheney Pinata" and boogie in "Layin' A Strip For the Higher-Self State Line." There is also a bit of free jazz in the interpretation of Ornette Coleman's "Street Woman." Rock music makes its appearance in the playing of drummer David King on various tunes. On some of them, like "An Here We Test Our Powers of Observation," his playing is reminiscent of the beats of electronic pop music, an element which continuously appeared on the former album.

Just as with These are The Vistas, the relationship with rock is also established by working with producer Tchad Blake and recording of versions of hit songs of popular bands. On Give there is a version of the Pixies' "Velouria" and Black Sabbath's "Iron Man." Although this is not a fusion or jazz-rock record, it's the result of a jazz trio looking to expand the language of jazz from the traditional point of view in which it was placed in the past decades by the mainstream.

Track Listing: 1979 Semi-Finalist; Cheney Piata; Street Woman; And Here We Test Our Powers Of Observation; Frog And Toad; Velouria; Layin A Strip For the Higher-Self State Line; Do Your Sums-die Like a Dog Play For Home; Dirty blonde; Neptune (The Planet); Iron Man.

Personnel: Ethan Iverson: piano; Reid Anderson: bass; David King: drums.

Record Label: Columbia Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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