ALBUM TITLE: The Bad Plus
PERFORMER: Ethan Iverson (piano), Reid Anderson (bass), David King (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: 172 6832
I keep reading how The Bad Plus (TBP) are challenging and innovative. Previously, the only thing they challenged was my patience, especially in concert. Innovative? Jazz has appropriated pop songs from day one, used rock-rhythms since about 1966, and leaned towards ‘homogenous’ trios rather than soloist-plus-accompanists for even longer. What The Bad Plus are is a healthy counter-balance to all those rhapsodic, impressionistic trios that have evolved and proliferated lately.
Prog is a must for fans and, arguably, necessary listening for sceptics such as myself. TBP’s originals are very good and they make serviceable purses from Tears for Fears’ ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ and Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars?’ but the latter ends up sounding like pianists Ferrante and Teicher. TBP still don’t recognise when too much is more-than-enough, and this gimmickry is why I backed-off from awarding four stars. Barry Witherden