The Bad Plus, Prog (Do the Math/Universal)

 |   |  <1 min read

The Bad Plus: Tom Sawyer
The Bad Plus, Prog (Do the Math/Universal)

This US jazz trio comes with formidable advance notices: Rolling Stone (not exactly a jazz journal) described their music as "action packed and totally schizophrenic -- in a good way".

I don't hear it quite that way.

They certainly pound up a storm sometimes (the thundering repeated piano chords and percussion in the nine minute Physical Cities here) but can also craft music of great delicacy and refinement (the album opens with a romantic treatment of Everybody Wants to Rule The World and later Bowie's Life on Mars? emerges from a long and digressive intro only to be quickly deconstructed with sledgehammer subtlety.

They draw from many sources (This Guy's In Love With You and heavy-metal Rush's Tom Sawyer also get Bad Plus' deft and angular treatment) but their most powerful material are the originals such as Mint which stalks somewhere between a minuet and Cecil Taylor, if you can imagine that.

And it swings.

Physical Cities will probably drive you up the wall (ideal neighbour-baiting music should you need it) but everywhere else here there is incendiary musicianship put into the service of sometimes demanding but rewarding material.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz at Elsewhere articles index

Kevin Field: The A List (Warners)

Kevin Field: The A List (Warners)

If the album title may seem to be raising expectations to a rather lofty region, this new one by Auckland pianist/keyboard player Kevin Field -- whose previous work under his own name or with... > Read more

Shai Maestro: Human (ECM/digital outlets)

Shai Maestro: Human (ECM/digital outlets)

With a name which befits his accomplishment yet playing which avoids flamboyance, Israeli pianist Shai Maestro found his natural home on the ECM label three years ago with The Dream Thief. Here... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

TIGI NESS AND UNITY PACIFIC, AN OVERVIEW (2007): Fruits from the roots

TIGI NESS AND UNITY PACIFIC, AN OVERVIEW (2007): Fruits from the roots

The drums tickle a beat into life, the dark drop of a bass builds and the guitars lock in to the distinctive rhythm, and as if by magic the reggae groove emerges. Heads nod, bodies move, and there... > Read more

Bo Diddley (Dec 30, 1928 - June 2, 2008)

Bo Diddley (Dec 30, 1928 - June 2, 2008)

Tributes will come fast for this legend of rock'n'roll and all will -- or at least they should -- note that for the past four decades the man barely sold an album despite his position as a... > Read more