Toronto, Ontario-based BadBadNotGood are a jazz group founded by Matthew Tavares (keyboards and synthesizer), Chester Hansen (bass guitar), and Alexander Sowinski (drums). BadBadNotGood initially attracted attention with their jazz interpretations of hip-hop tracks, leading them to work with artists such as Tyler, the Creator and Frank Ocean.
The outfit first came together in 2010 when the bandmembers met at the Humber College jazz program in Toronto, sharing a love for both jazz and hip-hop. During their college years, they performed a piece based upon the music of Odd Future, which they uploaded to YouTube. It attracted many views and was spotted by Tyler, the Creator from Odd Future. In 2011, BadBadNotGood released their debut album, BBNG, via Bandcamp. It included covers of music by Odd Future, A Tribe Called Quest, and Waka Flocka Flame and was recorded in just one three-hour session. Following the album release, the trio recorded a live session with Tyler, the Creator, opened for Roy Ayers at the Nujazz festival in their hometown of Toronto, and performed at Gilles Peterson's worldwide awards.
Their second record, BBNG2, was released in 2012, this time recorded within a ten-hour slot and once again featuring original pieces as well as cover versions of music by My Bloody Valentine, Kanye West, and James Blake. In the same year, the band was the Coachella Festival's band in residence, playing six different sets, as well as the backing band for Frank Ocean. BadBadNotGood were then drafted to be part of the production and musical composition team for the soundtrack of the film The Man with the Iron Fists. They did production work for Earl Sweatshirt and Danny Brown, as well as a remix on JJ Doom's Key to the Kuffs.
The group's third record, III, was released in 2014 and included the singles "Hedron," "CS60," and "Can't Leave the Night." In February 2015, the group's collaboration with Wu-Tang Clan MC Ghostface Killah, titled Sour Soul, was released by Lex Records. In early 2016, the trio became a quartet when Leland Whitty joined on saxophone. BadBadNotGood's first album with Whitty, IV, appeared on Innovative Leisure the following July. The album featured guest appearances from Future Islands' Samuel T. Herring ("Time Moves Slow"), producer Kaytranada ("Lavender"), and rapper Mick Jenkins ("Hyssop of Love"). IV debuted on the Billboard 200 and topped the Jazz Album chart. ~ James Pearce