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The Bad Plus - The Rite of Spring / PopMatters review

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It has got to be a challenge being The Bad Plus. You're not just any jazz piano trio, no sir-eee. You recorded a version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on your first record and got a reputation for taking on cool adaptations. Your drummer was widely criticized for being "too loud", but you were playing rock clubs anyway, so alienating crusty "jazz critics" was maybe a good thing. You recorded a set of rock covers but with an actual female rock singer and it was intriguing, even excellent.

You're the Bad Plus. What's your next trick? An album of Bill Evans interpretations or Cole Porter songs? I don't think so.

There's no shortage of brilliant piano trios today, but we're still lucky to have The Bad Plus, which is brilliant in its own unique way. Back in 2011, Ethan Iverson (piano), Reid Anderson (bass), and Dave King (drums) brought their version of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring out on tour and got excellent notices. Finally, the piece has been recorded for the rest of us. And this reinterpretation is as fresh and breathtaking as the group's past work. Indeed, it may be the most wonderful thing since its debut. Maybe better.

 

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