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The Bad Plus Perches on Genre's Edge

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Monday January 21, 2013

From The Columbia Daily Tribune

Trio perches on genre’s edge with deep catalog, wild covers
By: Aarik Danielsen

The Bad Plus is not your grandfather’s piano trio. Unless, of course, your grandfather was a mad genius capable of both stark-raving soliloquies and lucid moments of wisdom. In that case, he’d likely love the Minnesota outfit.

“Are The Bad Plus a pop- and rock-influenced jazz trio? Or are they a power trio whose members like to play jazz?” AllMusic’s Johnny Loftus has asked. “It’s really a bit of both. But in the brave new world of postmodern jazz, identity crises are encouraged.”

Recording together for the past dozen years, the group’s multiple musical personalities have paid off in vibrant and surprising ways. Together, Reid Anderson (bass), Ethan Iverson (piano) and David King (drums) have subverted and exploded notions of traditional jazz, all while tipping their collective hats to the form’s practices and pioneers. The band’s catalog is full of inventive originals that run the gamut from manic and complicated to simply beautiful. Launching a gleeful assault on the Great American Songbook, the band has also made room in its repertoire for iconic Brit-rock anthems, avant-garde amblings and chestnuts from the hard rock canon. An inability to sit still combined with an ability to beat and bruise its instruments in the service of dynamic sound led Rolling Stone to deem the trio’s music as “about as badass as highbrow gets.”

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