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Album Review

Falling somewhere between Medeski, Martin & Wood, Ben Folds Five, and the Oscar Peterson Trio, power jazz trio the Bad Plus deliver more idiosyncratic instrumentals on their sophomore effort, Give. Featuring bassist Reid Anderson, drummer David King, and pianist Ethan Iverson, the Bad Plus follow a similar creative path as on their debut, These Are the Vistas, by interspersing original compositions with covers of popular rock tunes. This time around the Pixies' "Velouria" is turned into a kind of Sergei Rachmaninov does funk jazz number while Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" sounds something like a Claude Debussy arrangement of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." Otherwise, the trio evinces free jazz with Ornette Coleman's "Street Woman," and does a bombastic impersonation of Vince Guaraldi on the original "Layin' a Strip for the Higher-Self State Line." While obviously talented and often inspired, it is unclear if the Bad Plus are avant-garde enough to appeal to hardcore jazz fans, or pop-oriented enough to grab the attention of rock listeners. However, fans of quirky, experimental music may find this worth a listen.

Customer Reviews

Clarity of vision and purpose

Anthemic to intimate, bombastic to tender, theatrical to beautifully sincere, these songs articulate emotions and create impressions with a clarity rarely matched in music today. Like their first album, "Vistas," this record showcases the distinct compositional voices that make up The Bad Plus - Anderson, Iverson, and King all write music for the band and each writes extremely well. Yes, there are covers, but think of them as icing on what is an already delicious cake; this album, like everything from this trio, succeeds on the merits of the band's original work. Try "Powers of Observation," "Frog and Toad," "Dirty Blonde," and the trio's surprising rendition of Sabbath's "Iron Man" for starters - you'll find something unique and beautiful in this music.

An Outstanding Album

This is the first album I have listened to from Bad Plus and I'm in love. I highly recommend the track "Frog and Toad".

Another Great One!

The unique style of The Bad Plus has always been incredibly intriguing to me since my introduction to them a little over five years ago. When I saw that they had a new album (back in 2004) I was eager to give the CD a test run. In short, my expectations were greatly surpassed. This amazing addition to the bands discography is also a cool and eccentric choice for your own music library. 5/5, hands down.


Formed: 1990 in Minneapolis, MN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Are the Bad Plus a pop- and rock-influenced jazz trio? Or are they a power trio whose members like to play jazz? It's really a bit of both. But in the brave new world of postmodern jazz, identity crises are encouraged. Reid Anderson (bass) and David King (drums) grew up in Minnesota, while pianist Ethan Iverson spent his formative years in Wisconsin. Eventually, after crossing paths in such unlikely places as high-school rock showcases and tentative free jazz performances inside Upper Midwestern...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by The Bad Plus

Give, The Bad Plus
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