The Bad Plus CD is all original
The music trio, The Bad Plus, talks about influences which have led them to their newest CD, "Never Stop." This is their first album to exclusively contain songs written by the band.
This story was originally covered by PRI's Here and Now. For more, listen to the audio above.
The music of The Bad Plus is hard to categorize. The trio is usually considered a jazz band, but the ten-year-old group plays its way into rock as well. As bassist Reid Anderson says, instead of fitting into a genre, the band's goal is to sound like themselves: "Our heroes are the people who do that." They have always played their own music, in addition to covering songs by other artists using The Bad Plus sound. In their newest album, "Never Stop," they break from tradition by showcasing only original music.
Contemporary music is an essential element of jazz for the band. "One of the fundamental aspects of jazz is that it's always engaged with the music of it's time, and that kind of got broken as we got into the 1960s and later," Anderson explains. "And we just felt that it was important to connect with that." The Bad Plus reinstituted that jazz tradition, taking on some of the most popular rock songs of their generation, including Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Queen's "We are the Champions."
When they are not covering other artists, The Bad Plus produce music associated with colorful memories. Anderson imagines a midnight snowfall when he hears "Snowball," while pianist Ethan Iverson shares a less romantic connection with "2 P.M.." He says, "Part of it sort of sounds like the Hamms beer commercial, and I like acknowledging, sometimes, those influences that are whatever you're surrounded by as a kid, or whatever you grow up with, you should just let it out if it's in there. You don't have to worry necessarily about being the hippest New York jazz musician or something."
After playing together for years, The Bad Plus is still being treated like "the next big thing," according to Here and Now host Robin Young. Iverson gives his perspective on this misperception: "Actually, being the next big thing at ten years is nothing. I want to be the next big thing after 50 years of The Bad Plus."
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