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The Bad Plus redefine the way a piano trio makes music / live mint

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Much like the manner in which Morpheus harangued Neo in Matrix, it can well be asked: What is real jazz? How do you define real jazz?  Like the dumbfounded protagonist in the cult movie, all we can do is to gulp the red pill to see how deep the rabbit hole goes. On the way we are sure to meet the Bad Plus, a leaderless ensemble of bassist Reid Anderson, drummer David King and pianist Ethan Iverson, which bills itself the loudest trio in jazz and invariably raise the hackles of purists.

For a genre that clamors for innovation, it's ironic that every radical step in jazz is often panned. Thelonious Monk in his time was told he doesn't know how to play the piano, Ornette Coleman shocked the socks off people who derided his music as noise, the genius of Phineas Newborn was dubbed as shallow-the examples are many. It wasn't too much of a surprise that the Bad Plus, with its capricious bassist, drummer who would have been at home at a heavy metal band and a pianist whose right hand doesn't always agree with his left, would draw a fair amount of flak when the band made its appearance at the turn of the century.