Wednesday January 11, 2017
Jazz Renegades in the Bad Plus Have No Leader
By: Ben Salmon
Celebrated American jazz trio the Bad Plus knows no limits when it comes to taking on a variety of sounds, styles and genres. Riffing on other people’s tunes is nothing new in jazz, but the breadth of musical interests that bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer Dave King bring to their collaboration makes the group stand out.
For instance, there’s Made Possible, from 2012, the band’s first foray into electronic music. Then The Rite of Spring, from 2014, an ambitious interpretation of Igor Stravinsky’s 1913 orchestral work. That same year, the Bad Plus released Inevitable Western, a full-length album of original jazz compositions. And in 2015, the group unveiled a collaboration with master saxophonist Joshua Redman.
Which brings us to It’s Hard, last year’s collection of covers — or as King calls them, “deconstructions” of other people’s music. Before that, he says, “We hadn’t arranged a pop song for the three of us in ten years.”
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