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The Bad Plus

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 diners, the three first performed as the Bad Plus in 1990, but they would spend the '90s embracing separate influences, each musician developing a unique musical language that would gestate into the trio's iconoclastic jazz template. Anderson released three albums on the Spanish indie Fresh Sound; Iverson was music director of New York City's prestigious Mark Morris Dance Group, and King worked with his Happy Apple combo, as well as 12 Rods.

In August of 2001, the bandmembers put aside their other projects and released The Bad Plus through Fresh Sound. It established that the Bad Plus were unafraid to stray from the confines of jazz, but confident enough in their forays to make them stimulating, and not simply novelties. The debut was a critical success, garnering best-of honors from The New York Times and Chicago Reader, among others. An "official" bootleg followed in 2002, eventually going out of print.

It was a particularly memorable performance at New York's Village Vanguard that led Columbia Records to sign the Bad Plus; in February of 2003, the label released These Are the Vistas, which was produced by stranger-to-jazz and ex-Latin Playboy Tchad Blake. The album presented original compositions from each musician, as well as a few ringers from the musical world outside the borders of jazz. Their re-imaginations of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (which Iverson had reportedly never heard before), Blondie's "Heart of Glass," and Aphex Twin's "Flim" caused tails to wag, but it was the Bad Plus' powerful mixture of personality and performance that really defined them.

The Bad Plus toured throughout spring and summer 2003 in support of their major-label debut. The band's second album, Give, followed in spring 2004. For 2005's Suspicious Activity?, the trio produced the album with Tchad Blake at RealWorld Studios in England. PROG followed in 2007. In 2009 the Bad Plus teamed up with vocalist Wendy Lewis, adding a new dimension to the sound of their sixth album, For All I Care. The following year they continued to shake things up, releasing Never Stop, the group's first album of all original material. After extensive touring and other projects, they recorded another collection of all-original material, Made Possible; it was released in September of 2012. After extensive touring and some side projects by its various members, Bad Plus returned to the studio and recorded their own version of Igor Stravinsky's ballet, The Rite of Spring. It was released by Sony Masterworks in March of 2014. ~ Johnny Loftus, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Nevuh heard of these guys. Not bad!!
Nice trio....than k s .
tjahan
Spectacular version of the Rite of Spring live yesterday at SF Jazz Center. These guys are simply awesome. David King is mesmerizing on stage!!!
funky awesome!
awesome
notdave42
daveking.net
Giant on Prog hands down the coolest shiznit I have ever heard.
Thumbs up for The Bad Plus!! I saw them live in Portugal, and it was amazing!
Made Possible is a great album.
cdcrpntr
I don't think I could like this anymore.
hemantparmar
Heard them in Davis in April 2012, blew us away! Good musicians with great personalitie s . Great sense of humour, what a trio.
Bonzey, you are spot on about David King - I just saw the trio at the Howard Theater. David King did indeed blow my mind. The whole group is awesome.
Interesting take on “The Bad Plus” with this album. I guess it’ll be fine as long as they don’t continue adding vocals. Been listening to them since “These Are The Vistas”. My favorite all time song that they’ve covered has probably been “Life on mars”. Incredibly emotionally powerful crescendo to that song. I really dig their first album “These are the vistas” as well. And their most recent album “Never Stop” has proven to probably be their most impressive album in terms of musicianship .
Go see these guys live and David King will blow your mind. My all time favorite drummer. He is absolutely astounding. Devastating to watch. My jaw dropped in amazement the first time I saw him play.
hd-taylor
I had forgotten about this group. Thanks for reintroducin g me to some very pleasant new music.
Can't believe this is the first time I've ever heard them. . I really like what I'm hearing. I'll have to get more!
I've enjoyed them a whole hell of a lot on Pandora, but I do hear they're hot stuff, live. I hope I can catch them here, sometime (Seattle, WA).
This group is crazzzzzzzzz z z z z z z z z i e in a good way take a listen to Prog..OUTSTA N D I N G ALBUM(old skool) tonight I will be iTuning the other three.
arpex715
We should all thank our lucky stars that there are some bands still out there that have the talent and the balls to keep jazz alive. The Bad Plus is able to stick to jazz tradition while giving us something exceptionall y original and fresh to listen to. It's like your ears having the cake and eating it too!
akottas8
Listening to 'Silence is the Question' while lying down, relaxed, eyes closed, is quite an experience. And I agree, Dave King is amazing. Happy Apple is no different either, just phenomenal music. I met Mike Lewis at a Cheetah Nunchuck show this summer (at Downtime Bar and Grill, in Dinkytown MN). He was really nice and down-to-eart h , and was very tolerant of my annoying reminders of his greatness. He even got onstage for a few numbers! Man, I must've been really annoying!
One of the best bands out there, and David King is the greatest. If you like his style, check out his other band, Happy Apple. Different style of jazz, but you'll probably like it if you like TBP. Also, the playing of covers is definitely not a gimmick. Covering earlier material has been a staple of jazz since its inception. The only difference is that TBP covers rock because they grew up with it and like it, and it makes for interesting inspiration for a jazz piece.
What about Wendy Lewis? What a fascinating voice!!!!!
warthogger9
Where's their new album on here???
josh_perea7
love em!
53400053
for those wondering, this mystery drummer is dave king.
also, they're playing covers because they like the way the songs sound -- it's not a joke, or a marketing ploy, or anything.
my favorite song is giant...
The drummer is probably the most unique drummer I've ever heard. It's almost like he reinvents the instrument. Poopy Trim.
aransdell
I've seen these guys live twice and it was a treat both times!
Great musicians and writers, but the reliance on covers seems like a marketing ploy. They should focus on writing their own material.
cowboys1174
these guys are good. never heard of them until today. but daddy like.....
So... are they a Bad Plus...or a Good Minus? Who knows. All I know is that these guys rock the house harder than any so-called "rock band" on the radio.
warthogger9
these guys are amazing, what could be better than a blend of jazz and classic rock that leans toward the jazz jam session side yet remains a power trio, etc?
the drummer rocks by the way.
migueldj
Amazing trio.

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