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EXTENDED ANALYSIS

The Bad Plus: The Rite Of Spring

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Calculation and risk, bombast and glory, a complete shunning of expectations, and a penchant for the provocative, percussive and dramatic. It's hard to know if that description is meant to be applied to Igor Stravinsky's most heralded work or the collectively-operated trio known as The Bad Plus; it's hard to make that distinction because it rings true for both. One hundred years separate the premiere of The Rite Of Spring, which caused a riot, and the recording of this album. In the interim, everything has changed and nothing has changed. Listeners still get lulled into and out ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Bad Plus: Burlington, VT February 16, 2013

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The Bad PlusFlynn Center for the Performing Arts Burlington VTFebruary 16, 2013The Bad Plus' appearance on The Flynn Mainstage illustrated how much progress the trio's made since earlier appearances in the much smaller FlynnSpace. The surprising number of empty seats as the evening progressed hinted the performance bordered on the underwhelming, but that was a passing sensation as the concert progressed.The trio's half-hour jaunt through Stravinsky's “Rite of Spring," though ostensibly the feature of the concert, ended up being simply a precursor to a handful of originals, in which pianist Ethan Iverson, drummer ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bad Plus: Never Stop

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For the past decade, The Bad Plus has received both praise and criticism for its idiosyncratic approach to jazz-rock. Liberal jazz fans and those who are inclined towards the mainstream but want to dabble in jazz have enthusiastically received the band's modern piano trio reworking of rock standards such as Nirvana's “Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Rush's “Tom Sawyer." Conversely, jazz purists tend to shy away from The Bad Plus and its backbeat-intensive and sometimes bombastic playing.Never Stop is the band's first studio album to offer exclusively original compositions. Although the album often lacks the raw energy of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bad Plus with Wendy Lewis: For All I Care

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The recordings of too many contemporary jazz singers teeter precipitously on a cliff overlooking the meandering river of easy listening. Jane Monheit and her ilk sculpt with cake-icing spatulas, decorating standards and new material alike with a thick sheen of creamy frosting. Those who might reasonably lay claim to being the musical descendants of Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong are, more than likely, singing rock.

With For All I Care, The Bad Plus asks, “What's the difference?" Following on the heels of 2007's acclaimed Prog (Heads Up), Care goes farther afield than the band's previous work, culling music from the ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

The Bad Plus / Wendy Lewis: For All I Care

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The Bad Plus / Wendy Lewis For All I Care Heads Up International 2009

If you are The Bad Plus, and you've spent your acclaimed and wacky career dismantling pop and jazz tunes down to their barely recognizable components--spreading those components around like bike pieces on a garage floor and building them back together into a state that bears only occasional resemblances to its source material--it is not the easiest thing in the world to advertise for helpers.

But when the band found itself looking to employ a singer for the first ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bad Plus: Prog

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Since its appearance on the music scene in 2003, The Bad Plus has been at the forefront of numerous debates within the world of jazz and beyond. Questions of genre placement and definition terminology seem to plague this esoteric band. Its newest disc Prog certainly won't answer these questions or solve these debates. In fact, it might just spur these arguments on. However, there is a solid truth to be found regardless: these three musicians--Reid Anderson (bass), Ethan Iverson (piano) and David King (drums)--make serious, ground-shaking music that is not to be overlooked. Prog is a rather ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bad Plus: Prog

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Free from the confines of major label machinery, The Bad Plus returns to its independent roots fully rejuvenated with Prog, its fifth studio album and first on its own Do The Math imprint (distributed by Heads Up). Although a three-album tenure on Columbia Records brought The Bad Plus far greater recognition than its self-titled 2001 debut on the indie label Fresh Sound, it also seemed to gradually sap the trio of its vivaciousness.

What was once a mark of distinction has become ubiquitous, as numerous jazz artists now mine the same contemporary pop landscape for inspiration. More than ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bad Plus: Suspicious Activity?

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The Bad Plus is nothing if not confounding. The trio exalts in ambiguity and delights in dodging definition. Its music at once conveys affected irony and honest intelligence, melodrama and real poignancy. It resists interpretation. But one thing is for certain: the Bad Plus has created one of the most original and unmistakable sounds in contemporary music. The trio's third major-label album, Suspicious Activity?, will do little to quell the arguments the previous two have fueled in the jazz community. And though the approach here is not a radical departure from that on These Are the Vistas ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Suspicious Activity Indeed: The Bad Plus Live

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Irreverent and eccentric, The Bad Plus are a bundle of nervous energy when they play. Yet as this ever-so-intimate venue in the Green Mountains of Vermont, the trio entranced rather than repel by dint of their humor and imagination, not to mention just enough conventionalism to make their quirks that much more effective.

The early part of the September 30th set was akin to watching an aerial view of race cars, the three musicians--Ethan Iverson on piano, Reid Anderson on bass and David King on drums and assorted odd percussion (including children's toys)--jockeying for position, cutting each other off, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bad Plus: Blunt Object: Live in Tokyo

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A turbulent foray into experimental terrain recorded live at the Blue Note in Tokyo, bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson, and drummer David King, who together make up the The Bad Plus, explore a plethora of styles on their third Columbia release Blunt Object: Live In Tokyo. It is most certainly their most inventive, risk-taking session to date; a logical outgrowth of their rock and shock reputation.

Can you believe its been over two years now that the Bad Plus broke out with their hit record These Are the Vistas? And in that time, journalists and fans alike ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bad Plus: The Bad Plus

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Is there another group that excels this well at not taking themselves seriously?

The Bad Plus are earning raves as either stupendous or just plain stupid for their radical interpretations of pop standards, making their major label debut on 2003's These Are The Vistas and following up with 2004's Give . But as is the case with many artists, there's also a number of small-label releases of interest to fans--and one is relatively easy to obtain without resorting to bootleg hunting or paying inflated prices for imports.

The Bad Plus (also known as Motel ), the ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

The Bad Plus and Good For Cows

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The Bad Plus Give Sony-Columbia 2004

The Bad Plus, jazz's ground breaking trio, have followed up their acclaimed release These Are the Vistas with Give , a disc that reaffirms the band's intentions to do nothing conventional, and to shift the music's landscape. The format of the disc is similar: predominantly originals mixed with covers, featuring the band's penchant for Mingus-esque titling and already trademark rhythmic construction and arrangements, and double-edged satire.

The opener, “1979 Semi-Finalist," has the tempo of a boxer feeling out an opponent in the first round. Reid Anderson's fiercely melodic ...

OPINION/EDITORIAL

Give The Bad Plus A Break

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A pretty little girl, maybe 4 years old or so, dances and twirls to the music, long blond hair flying. Her mother sits nearby, watchful that she doesn't bump into any of the audience members enjoying the show. A dreadlocked man at the adjacent table leans over to the little dancer, points to the hyperkinetic drummer up on the stand, and asks a question that, though inaudible due to the volume of the band, is clear enough: “Is that your daddy?". With obvious pride, the girl gives her interlocutor a smile and 3 big nods of her head, and then ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Bad Plus: Give

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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 ...



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