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The Bad Plus - The Rite of Spring / Downbeat review

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The modern age of music began with an evocation of ancient times: the Stravinsky/Nijinsky ballet The Rite of Spring. The 1913 premiere famously caused a riot, with some Parisians unprepared for its primal, erotic charge. Although the work's syncopations no longer shock listeners (or intimidate orchestras), there remains not only beauty but beastliness in this music-the radical rhythmic seed of everything from the Harlem jungle sound to heavy metal.

Although bigger jazz outfits have had a go, The Bad Plus is the rare trio with enough chops-and chutzpah-to take on this totem. Pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer Dave King are known for tapping influences from modern classical to classic rock, keen to meld irony with earnestness and jazz virtuosity with folklore groove. The band re-styled a slice from Apollo, a lovely later ballet by Stravinsky, on its 2009 album For All I care (Heads Up): but The Rite of Spring is on a level beyond.

 

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