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The Bad Plus Balances Jazz, Rock and Originality

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Monday January 14, 2013

From St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Bad Plus balances jazz, rock and originality
By: Calvin Wilson

In the jazz world, there’s no shortage of piano-bass-drums trios. It’s a configuration that has accommodated pianists from the introspective Bill Evans to the explosive Bud Powell. Still, the Bad Plus — which makes its annual pilgrimage to Jazz at the Bistro next week — stands out.

With Ethan Iverson on piano, Reid Anderson on bass and David King on drums, the inventively collaborative Bad Plus has earned the respect of the jazz crowd while also attracting fans from the rock scene. No doubt the trio’s often percussive attack gets some of the credit for its crossover success, as well as its reputation for covering rock tunes such as Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

But on “Made Possible,” an album released last year, most of the tunes are originals — the sole cover being the late jazz drummer Paul Motian’s “Victoria.” The disc is also notable in that the trio, known for adhering to the acoustic jazz tradition, makes judicious use of electronics.

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