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The Bad Plus: Messengers for the Jazz Sound

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Tuesday October 09, 2012

From The LA Times

The Bad Plus: Messengers for the Jazz Sound
By: Chris Barton

Drawing inspiration from the pop world is far from a new phenomenon in the jazz tradition, but for the Bad Plus, it was a move that proved controversial when the group first came on the scene.

Debuting on a major label in 2003 with “These Are the Vistas,” the trio’s muscular sound was derided by jazz purists as too loud. Some critics also derided it as “fake jazz” — a sound angled toward commercial success, the proof being covers that pulled from the alt-rock world including Nirvana and Blondie. However, the album attracted young fans, and in another rarity for instrumental music at the time, earned raves in glossy mainstream magazines such as Newsweek and Esquire.

“It was a real honor because I never, ever, ever thought I would be controversial,” Ethan Iverson says with a laugh, speaking by phone from Brooklyn before the group heads out on tour (the band plays the Mint on Tuesday). “Not like my heroes Ornette Coleman or Thelonious Monk . . . I was like, ‘Man, we’ve really made it.’

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