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The band that never stops: The Bad Plus

Blog
The band that never stops: The Bad Plus

07.08.2018

Article: Cem Kayıran
Translation: Yetkin Nural
Illustration: Saydan Akşit

Formed by Ethan Iverson, Reid Anderson and David King in 1990, The Bad Plus became one of the most unusual jazz bands. Never caring for the borders between genres and always including their various interests in their music, The Bad Plus had the first change in their formation last year. After Ethan Iverson left the band after 27 years due to the differences of opinions on the production process, Anderson and King duo invited their old time friend Orrin Evans to the band.

As the trio will meet the Istanbul audience for the first time with their new formation at Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall on 21st October Sunday night, we have decided to take a journey through the band’s discography.

THE BAD PLUS (MOTEL) (2001)

The first fruit of the band’s earlier recordings was The Bad Plus (Motel), which masterfully highlighted the trio’s ‘‘the noisiest jazz band of all times’’ title. Alongside original compositions from band members, the album included jazz versions of classics like Nirvana’s ‘‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’’ and ABBA’s ‘‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’’. The band managed to keep the focus of its audience with compositions that kept changing in surprising ways.

SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY? (2005)

After the first album, the trio kept releasing recordings, and they also became famous with their breathtaking live performances, solid dominance over their instruments and various covers. Suspicious Activity? (2015) shifted the focus back to band’s original compositions. Other than a rendition of Chariots of Fire (1981) film music theme, all of the tracks in the album were original compositions and Iverson’s ‘‘O.G (Original Gentleman)’’ was dedicated to legendary drummer Elvin Jones.

FOR ALL I CARE (2008)

For All I Care, probably one of the most successful albums of The Bad Plus, is also the first album that didn’t feature any original compositions and featured vocals in some of the songs. Including renditions of songs from The Bee Gees, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Yes and The Flaming Lips, the album featured vocals from David King, Reid Anderson and Wendy Lewis. 

THE BAD PLUS JOSHUA REDMAN (2015)

The eleventh LP from The Bad Plus discography, The Bad Plus Joshua Redman was recorded with the famous sax player Joshua Redman, as the album’s name clearly states. Two of the nine original compositions from the album belongs to Redman. The band’s rich musicality and creativity is felt throughout the whole album, which received high praise from various prestigious music media and critics.

NEVER STOP II (2018)

The Bad Plus turned a new page in their musical journey in 2018, and after playing with Orrin Evans for just three weeks; they entered the studio for a new album. It was September when Evans joined the band and the album from this new formation came out on 19th January 2018. The enthusiastic approach to take a new direction after a long and successful career is what makes The Bad Plus such a special band. The album’s name hints that the new page turned with Evans actually picks up from where they left. The band’s first release from Legbreaker label, Never Stop II comes as a continuation of the Never Stop album, which was the last album that featured only original compositions from the original trio.

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