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 articles index

JOE LA BARBERA PROFILED: Counting the beats

JOE LA BARBERA PROFILED: Counting the beats

For some reason - perhaps because they work in a loud profession - you expect drummers to shout. Few do, and while Joe La Barbera may have started his career in the appropriately named... > Read more

NPME: Mareureu (Pacific Echoes)

NPME: Mareureu (Pacific Echoes)

There is a growing genre of Pacific-influenced jazz: the Mamaku Project (see tag) has elements of it, and this album by the New Pacific Music Ensemble is another. With saxophones and electric... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

JEFF LYNNE AND ELO (2012): The re-electrification programme

JEFF LYNNE AND ELO (2012): The re-electrification programme

When identifying a cheap Suzanne Vega double disc as a Bargain Buy recently, it was noted what she has been up to in recent years since her profile dropped below the low water mark. In effect... > Read more

SOUL FOOD Y'ALL: Inna German style?

SOUL FOOD Y'ALL: Inna German style?

To be honest, for many decades I thought succotash was some kind of cuss word. That was probably because I'd seen the perpetually angry Loony Tunes character Yosemite Sam bellow out... > Read more