These guys are good!,
This review is from: These Are The Vistas (Audio CD)I first became aware of the Bad Plus when saw them on a Saturday Morning TV network show. I thought they were pretty good then, but I didn't make the connection with "Smells Like Teen Spirit", which I heard on the National Public Radio affiliate here in Cleveland. A few weeks ago, I saw an article about the Bad Plus in Downbeat and then it clicked.
I've always been wary of music critics. Trying to describe music by writing about it is like trying to create a charcoal drawing depicting a three-act play. Jazz recordings for me are especially difficult, because even though I have played an instrument for years, I am not a jazz musician. I like jazz because it is a form of music that, even given the constraints of conventional performance, is very close to free form expression.
I like this CD. If you appreciate the history of jazz during and following the post World War II years, then you'll probably understand the direction of this trio led by pianist Ethan Iverson. Iverson's method on piano, at times is understated, but that's okay; it works. Reid Anderson and David King on bass and drums respectively, are, to say the least, a solid rythm section.
I suppose a purist, or a member of some mutual admiration society, would be inclined to say that Ethan Iverson isn't Bill Evans, Chick Corea or Otis Spann. That the inclusion of "Heart of Glass" and "Smells like Teen Spirit" covers show that the Bad Plus was influenced more by Keith Emerson than by Art Tatum. My response would be to say: So what?
Let's face it: Unless the medium is infused with new blood, it will die off. After all, how many obscure, unreleased recordings of jazz musicians dead and long since buried are going to captivate a younger, musically sophisitcated audience?
Anyway, this is the sort of CD that I like.