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The Bad Plus - It's Hard / LondonJazz review

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In 2016, we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of punk – and if there is a jazz group who might lay claim to the legacy of 1976, it is Brooklyn's The Bad Plus. Ethan Iverson, Reid Anderson and Dave King have been purveying jazz-punk deconstructions of zeitgeisty hits from Bowie to Black Sabbath since their formation in 2000. In 2014, they released a reinterpretation of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, demonstrating their respect for the musical iconoclasts of the past, though not quite provoking the riots that famously broke out at the original Rite's premiere. 

Rather than riot, the appropriate reaction to a Bad Plus covers album is more a sort of post-modern chortle at their irascible rearrangements. There's a lot of fun to be had with the eleven selections on their latest, It's Hard. Kraftwerk's The Robots gets a sparky latin overhaul, which finds the swing amidst the precise pulses of the original. Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time is another triumph, with Iverson extracting some affecting changes, under which Anderson weaves what seems like an endlessly ascending bass line.   READ THE FULL LondonJazz REVIEW