Tuesday October 30, 2012
From Next Bop
For Your Consideration: The Bad Plus’ ‘Made Possible’
By: Anthony Dean-Harris
Consider for a moment the career arc of The Bad Plus. When the trio of pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer Dave King burst onto the scene with their swirling, intricate, playful compositions and head-turning rock covers back in the early aughts, music fans the world over had strong opinions about what this music was — jazz or otherwise — and where this group would go. Over more than a decade, this group has dazzled us with their albums from their first major release in 2003, These Are The Vistas, to their latest album, Made Possible. In fact, Made Possible appears to be a return to form for the dynamic trio after their rather vocal (pun intended) left turn with 2008’s For All I Care featuring Wendy Lewis and what came off as a checkpoint in their sojourn back to their trademark sound with 2010’s Never Stop. Nevertheless, Made Possible, available on Entertainment One Music, is the group’s finest album since 2007’s Prog and the clear logical next step for a trio that has arguably changed the game in the jazz genre.
When it comes to a TBP album, while the group have always been fascinating, it’s not hard to pick out a bit of a formula. Just about every album has a pulsing, Western-tinged jam (Give’s “Layin’ A Strip for the Higher Self-State Line”, Never Stop’s “Super America”), the slow build (These Are The Vistas’ “Everywhere You Turn” & “Silence Is The Question”, For All I Care’s “Comfortably Numb, Never Stop’s “People Like You”), the disjointed piece (Suspicious Activity?‘s “Knows the Difference”, For All I Care’s Fém [Etude No. 8]”, Give’s “Street Woman”). There are certainly tropes in The Bad Plus’ oeuvre that they have a tendency to tap into in new and inventive ways, Made Possible shows no different.
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