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These Are the Vistas

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Album Review

Whether or not pianist Ethan Iverson is literally using it, all of the Bad Plus' These Are The Vistas sounds as if it was recorded with the sustain pedal of the piano depressed. It's actually probably mostly the fault of producer Tchad Blake (Soul Coughing, Cibo Matto, Los Lobos), who applies his incredible treatments throughout the album, shining through especially in his work on David King's chaotic drums. Nonetheless, the Bad Plus sound as if they are in a cavernous space. The band rolls out the now-requisite jazz covers of pop tunes (in this case, Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Blondie's "Heart of Glass," and Aphex Twin's "Flim"), but it is their attitude (the very fact that they hired Blake to begin with, for example) that carries them the distance. The band itself is quite compelling. Iverson is a complex piano player. His skills come to bear on the abstract epic "Silence Is The Question," which closes the album, as his spidery piano lines melt into chaotic statements, left hand meeting subtly with bassist Reid Anderson, right hand meeting crazily with King. What is impressive is that the trio manages to sound contemporary using only piano, bass, and drums, and without resorting to electronic gimmicks. Whether or not the band is reinventing jazz is irrelevant. These Are The Vistas is good, interesting music.

Customer Reviews

Come On Folks

Poeple say they are tired of the same old same old...where here you are! The Apple reviewer seems to be putting them down in using the expression of "prerequisite pop tunes". If you get the chance to see them in concert it is like going to a magic show. You get mesmerized as to how do they do get so much sound out of three people? It is the "pop tunes" that bring you back to reality as you pick out a known melody. I think if John Coltrane was still with us he might of attempted to take on "Smells Like Teen Spirit". But not to many others...this is not for those that LOVE smooth jazz

A Great Freshman Effort

I fell in love with this group instantaneously by listening to "1979 Semi-Finalist" on their album "Give." That particular album was phenomenal in general, and I have since become obsessed. "These Are The Vistas" is definitely a freshman effort, but still highly enjoyable. Not quite as refined and tasty as "Give," but imbued with the same proclivity for light-hearted complexities and the same willingness to just rock out. The cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is fantastic, but my favorite has track on the album has to be the Aphex Twin cover, "Flim." David King's drumming is fantastic; frenetic but totally under control. Not their best work, but overall an excellent album.


Just turned on to these guys and there is no denying their talent, both technically and conceptually. This album is so fun, smart and addicting. In short, Bad Plus makes you smile.


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

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These Are the Vistas, The Bad Plus
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