The Bad Plus

For a band made famous by imitating more famous bands' songs, jazz trio The Bad Plus has done quite well for itself. From its early covers of Abba and Nirvana, to "Iron Man" and the Pixies, to the more sensible covers on Prog (Rush's "Tom Sawyer," Bowie's "Life On Mars?"), the band couples its penchant for homage with a smattering of original tunes that often get overshadowed by fans clamoring for the "hits" at live shows. Yet The Bad Plus — Reid Anderson, Ethan Iverson and David King — always seems to put on impressive live performances. The trio's talent is obvious; yet while 2005's Suspicious Activity was The Bad Plus trying to crawl out of the covers hole it dug for itself, new effort For All I Care consists entirely of covers. Vocalist Wendy Lewis joins the band on its renditions of mostly classic-rock songs like Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb," Heart's "Barracuda" and Yes's "Long Distance Runaround." The Bad Plus revisits Nirvana as well ("Lithium"), and fans will surely enjoy its interesting attempts at The Bee Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love" and Wilco's "Radio Cure." Though it can't claim the originality of experimental jazzers Medeski Martin & Wood or the Earl Harvin Trio, The Bad Plus's quirky covers and lively performances will continue to attract audiences and new fans.

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David A. Cobb
Contact: David A. Cobb