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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more
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) ...read more
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 ...read more
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 ...read more