Wednesday July 06, 2016
From Pittsburgh City Paper
The Bad Plus takes the traditional piano trio configuration in adventurous directions
By: Mike Shanley
The Bad Plus landed in the spotlight when Columbia released These Are the Vistas, in 2003. Between compositions by each member of the piano trio, the band reworked Blondie, Aphex Twin and Nirvana. The jazz press, always eager to find the genre’s next savior, had a field day. Even the mainstream music press took notice.
That didn’t sit well with the band. “We did not feel we were the saviors of anything. We never had that discussion,” says drummer Dave King, from Minneapolis, where the band first formed. The band “felt grotesquely uncomfortable with the idea that we saved anything. There was nothing to be saved. We love jazz.”
Besides, this was no overnight sensation. The Bad Plus was 3 years old with two independent releases to its name by the time Vistas dropped. Since then, the group has continued to walk the line between bold originals and a dizzying choice of interpretations, from Pink Floyd and Yes to Stravinsky’s entire Rites of Spring. The most recent album teamed the trio with straight-ahead saxophonist Joshua Redman. What might have seemed like a band putting an irreverent spin on music now comes across as a band bringing any number of styles to modern jazz.
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