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The Bad Plus - The Rite of Spring / Antigravity Magazine review

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Best known for its jazz and prog interpretations of many of the best known alternative and prog rock songs of the past thirty years or so, from the Pixies to Yes, the trio known as The Bad Plus takes its distinctive sound and gets to work on what is probably Igor Stravinsky's most famous ballet. It may seem like a strange thing to go back to, but the group has somehow taken the sweeping, nearly overwhelming orchestral dissonance of the original and made it intimate and accessible without sapping the entire piece of its power. Pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Reid Anderson trade off on the main themes of The Rite Of Spring's various movements, from the plaintiveness of the "Adoration of the Earth" introduction to the slow build of "The Sacrifice," with drummer Dave King contributing just the right amount of percussive backing, as, in many ways, the bass and piano prove to be highly percussive on their own most of the time throughout the trio's interpretation. This isn't so much a straight-up jazz take on Spring as it is a chance for The Bad Plus to see how far they can take the original work while still remaining true to its cataclysmic intent. This version of Spring is quite the experiment: still not easy listening after over 100 years, but no less exciting. -Leigh Checkman