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The Bad Plus - It's Hard / Observer review

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The latest album from The Bad Plus could double as an episode of Name That Tune! Play it for your friends, without revealing the song titles, and minutes could click by before anyone guesses the well-known melody being covered. "Traditionally, the idea of a cover version is that you emulate the original," said Bad Plus bassist Reid Anderson. "For us, it's more a process of deconstruction. We're thinking, ‘What else is there in this song? What can we find in here?' " On It's Hard, the 11th work by this avant-jazz trio, they discover melodic and rhythmic possibilities you'd never guess in well-known songs by artists like Prince (The Beautiful Ones"), Johnny Cash ("I Walk The Line") and-no lie!-Barry Manilow ("Mandy"). They also provide their own sonic comments on cultish pieces by Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV on The Radio.