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The Bad Plus: These are the Vistas

C. Michael Bailey By

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The Bad Plus: These are the Vistas Blasting out of the heartland, the Bad Plus spills onto the jazz landscape like strong waters, cleansing the palette of the recent barrage of jazz jam bands. Billed as the "loudest Jazz Piano Trio," the Bad Plus consists of bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson, and drummer David King.

Their music is compelling for two reasons. One, the covers (or standards, if you will) are contemporary pop. The band gives an acid postmodern treatment to Nirvana's "Smells like Teen Spirit," Debbie Harry's "Heart of Glass," and Aphex Twin's "Film." This leads us to the second compelling characteristic of this music, which is it is all performed within the confines of the standard acoustic jazz piano trio. Bassist Anderson keeps everything between the ditches while Iverson and King skip their merry, iconoclastic way through this collection of standards and originals (all band members contributing).

This is one of the most exciting trio offerings I have heard in some time—not to be missed.

Track Listing: Big Eater; Keeps The Bugs Off Your Glass And The Bears Off Your Ass; Smells Like Teen Spirit; Everywhere Your Turn; 1972 Bronze Medalist; Guilty; Boo-Wah; Film; Heart Of Glass; Silence Is The Question.

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

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Columbia Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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