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The Bad Plus - The Rite of Spring / Stereophile 'June CD of the Month'

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The link between jazz and the works of Igor Stravinsky is well known. In Conversations with Igor Stravinsky, his landmark 1959 collaboration with Robert Craft, the composer mentions jazz artists like Art Tatum and Charlie Christian. The fact that Stravinsky was captivated by the improvisational freedom of jazz and its insistent, inventive rhythms makes all his work, especially Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring), a natural for jazz players to play and quote from, and over the years they have more than obliged. Charlie Parker, in particular, peppered his impossibly fluid blasts of ideas with quotations from The Firebird and The Rite of Spring. The pounding, nervously rhythmic The Augurs of Spring, the Rite's second section, was a favorite of Parker's, and he famously recorded a snatch of it as part of his solo in "Repetition," by Neal Hefti (who played trumpet for Woody Herman and later arranged for Count Basie), recorded in 1947 for an anthology called The Jazz Scene. Ornette Coleman, Hubert Laws, and Alice Coltrane have all recorded parts or all of Rite. Now a new jazz version of Rite comes from pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer David King, better known as the Bad Plus.