If you like your music unexpected, restless and difficult then this is the stuff for you - the drums are all over the place, the pianist has a very "individual" harmonic palette, and the material is interpreted and arranged with no respect for convention - the results are absolutely superb, and this album inspires me as much today as it did on first hearing it abround 2 years ago - this album, and indeed all the albums by this trio of American thirty-somethings are in my regular listening list. Reid Anderson (Bass) is a real groovy player, who operates by feel, and creates a powerful undercurrent - and he has one of the best sounds in Jazz! On piano, Ethan Iverson is quite simply unlike any other pianist I have heard - I would call him the modern Thelonius Monk, although that's not quite right - suffice to say his unique style is immensely satisfying and well worth a listen. David King (Drums)is another unique player, with a light, restless touch that fills the record with rhythmic interest - he does not appeal to everyone, but he certainly appeals to me!
Right now as I write this I'm listening to track 4, the wonderful "Everywhere you turn" - a powerful, piano led groove, that manages to be incredibly chilled despite it's big sound and busy drums - SUPERB!
Many of you may have noticed that the band cover "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on this album, and some of you may be appalled at the prospect - Nirvana fans will be spinning wildly in their metaphorical graves, and Jazz aficionados will be wondering where serious jazz musicians will find the meat in a grunge anthem? Well, as a massive Nirvana fan (I started playing guitar the year before Nevermind was released) who now plays jazz in a bebop quintet, I can safely say that it should please a good few from both camps! Although the original holds a dear place in my heart, I can honestly say that this cover honors it and presents an alternative arrangement that I absolutely love. Other covers attempted by the band on this and other albums include "Iron Man", "Heart of Glass", a couple of Aphex Twin numbers, "Knowing Me, Knowing You" and numbers by The Bee Gees and Queen.
Overall, this is one for the acoustically adventurous, and one that will keep you entertained and intrigued for months if you make it past the first play! I can't imagine a world without a band like the Bad Plus in it, and I reckon you should check them out! By the way, if you get the chance to see them live, DO IT!! They love what they do, and put on an amazing show.