The Bad Plus




That the Bad Plus could continue without Evan Iverson came as a surprise. That the trio would still sound this much like Bad Plus with a different pianist is mind-boggling, especially as the brilliant Orrin Evans is very much his own man at the keyboard. It’s testimony to bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King’s clarity of intention in their two-decade-long experiment in expanding the language of the piano trio. Gone now are the covers of rock songs: all material here comes from the three members, whose compositions expand upon, but never entirely negate, that edgy Bad Plus sound.

Even the fragile beauty of Evans’s Looking in Your Eyes and Reid’s Love Is the Answer sit easily in the mix without seeming rope-ins from another repertoire. Around these the inclination to appropriate some of rock’s stylistic devices, without churning out music that could be called jazz-rock, remains. Perhaps Evans emphasises the band’s eccentricity slightly less than did Iverson, but in return he builds greater suppleness into the sound; a jazzy fluidity that re-contextualizes the back-beat music. The recording quality is exquisite, and the Edition label continues to grow in significance.