Ornette Coleman’s 1972 album Science Fiction is widely considered a landmark recording—and especially so for the members of The Bad Plus. Coleman’s singular combination of melodic beauty and avant-garde openness is enhanced by overdubs, vocals and a sonic production unlike any other jazz recording in existence. Science Fiction boldly insists on new spectrums of music that are possible.
The Bad Plus has been widely heralded for their innovative re-workings of rock, indie-rock, electronica, and modernist classical music. The group recently tackled Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in the multi-media production On Sacred Ground (co-commissioned by Duke Performances and Lincoln Center), and in the wake of fruitful collaborations with Joshua Redman, Bill Frisell, and Mark Morris, re-commissioned again by Duke Performances, The Bad Plus now turns to a jazz classic with Science Fiction. No strangers to the music of Ornette Coleman, the band had the opportunity to perform selections from Science Fiction at the Walker Arts Center with Coleman himself in the audience. Ornette praised their ability to interpret his own music and artistic philosophy with the signature Bad Plus style, calling it “The performance that I enjoyed most…they all sounded like individuals in the way they expressed it for themselves.”
Since the original album features a substantial horn presence, The Bad Plus is teaming up with an additional trio of accomplished musicians. Saxophonist Tim Berne was a crucial early influence of The Bad Plus, saxophonist Sam Newsome is renowned for both his solo concerts and recordings, and trumpeter Ron Miles has had a prodigious career as a bandleader and collaborator.