Ethan Iverson (p), Reid Anderson (b), David King (d)
Bar code: 8427328421072
"The three of us share the bond of growing up in the American Midwest as well as having some of our earliest, most formative musical experiences together. Though separated geographically these days (Reid and Ethan in New York, David in Minneapolis) we have remained fans of each other's music. We formed The Bad Plus out of this mutual admiration and a desire to fuse our individual aesthetics into a collective whole. Our agenda is one of passionate irreverence and we take on whatever music we please. Whether it is modern rock, disco, jazz standards or our own compositions we are happy to re-invent and deconstruct it.
Our first recording, The Bad Plus, was released in the Summer of 2001 on the Fresh Sound New Talent label. In addition to our own compositions, this CD includes wrecking ball interpretations of Abba, Nirvana and Rogers & Hart. We have recently added flux capacitor versions of Blondie, Bach and Aphex Twin to our live shows. We are currently playing as loudly and as softly as we can."
—The Bad Plus (Reid Anderson, Ethan Iverson & David King)
Their debut album was included in the Top 10 Jazz CDs of 2001 in The New York Times, Chicago Reader and VH1 Online Edition.
"With this cooperative trio, theres no particular code of conduct; you feel like youre hearing equitable free will They pack maximum arrangement into three and a half minutes; its just that they do it with a completely new set of musical languagesWhat might win the band an instant audience is its playing and in some places artful mauling of pop radio hits since the 1970sIf the covers were crowd-pleasers, bridging respect for melody with hard-driving clatter, their strong originals might last longer. An oblique blues noir by Mr. Iverson called Guilty had the bewitching, exotic quality of early Cecil Taylor; Silence is the Question by Mr. Anderson worked with the idea of constant crescendo, gaining volume and density over three lovely chords as Mr. Iverson drilled repeated arpeggios into the keyboard. When a band starts life at this level, theres great hope ahead."
—Ben Ratliff (The New York Times)
"Pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and Minneapolis-based drummer David King are the Bad Plus, and they bill themselves as "the loudest piano trio ever." Upon hearing them play, one is not inclined to quibble. In any case, they're certainly the only jazz group to cover ABBA's "Knowing Me, Knowing You," Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and Rodgers & Hart's "Blue Moon" on the same disc. Iverson and Anderson each contribute two previously unrecorded originals. King, for his part, penned the persistently grooving "1972 Bronze Medalist." Loud they may be, they're also finely attuned to dynamic contrasts, particularly on Anderson's "The Breakout." Listeners never quite know what they're going to hear. A minor example: King's startlingly thunderous drum fill right before Anderson's bass solo on the closing track, "Love Is the Answer." A major example: the brilliant Nirvana cover, offered with a totally straight face, in which the famous opening guitar riff is transformed into a series of almost plodding half notes -- and that's just the start of it."
—David R. Adler (All Music Guide)
"As chaotic and inventive as the Marx Brothers, this is a modern-jazz piano trio virtually devoid of clichés. Three old pals from Minnesota and Wisconsin deliver a three ring circus of sound on their new CD, The Bad Plus. [They] are capable of stately balladry one moment(Labyrinth) and raucous pop deconstruction the next (ABBAs Knowing Me Knowing You). Their new CD is as good as it gets in 2001, including by far the best version of Smells Like Teen Spirit ever recorded."
The Minneapolis Star Tribune
"They bill themselves as the loudest piano trio ever. Upon hearing them play, one is not inclined to quibble. In any case, certainly the only jazz group to cover ABBAs Knowing Me Knowing You, Nirvanas Smells Like Teen Spirit and Rogers & Harts Blue Moon on the same disc. Loud they may be, theyre also finely attuned to dynamic contrasts A major example: the brilliant Nirvana cover, offered with a totally straight face, in which the famous opening guitar riff is transformed into a series of almost plodding half notes and thats just the start of it."
—All Music Guide
"[The Bad Plus] offers their take on Blue Moon, that deliriously fractures and judiciously rebuilds both melody and rhythm. If youre looking for info on the jazz-pop nexus, the groups menacing takes on Abba and Nirvana hold several clues. Entertain us, indeed."
—The Village Voice
"This cerebral, anarchic jazz trio happily chases down, deconstructs, and resurrects just about anything that captures its fancy..."
"Perhaps this is quintiscential jazz for the 21st century, without borders, pretentions, or delusions..."
City Pages / Minneapolis, St. Paul
"You don't expect the stately trinity of piano bass drums to qualify as any kind of power trio, but that's what happens with this extraordinary unit...this bad band must run and run..."
—Richard Cook (BBC Music Magazine)
"They're melody mongers, demanding their original tunes be just as catchy as their improv is resourceful."
The Year's Best Jazz Records Number 7 in the Top Ten 2001
—Jim Macnie (VH1)
"The bad Plus deliver compact, spontaneous-sounding, shape-shifting performances that hold together as well as any pop song..."
Number 8 in the Top Ten CD releases of 2001
—Peter Margasak (Chicago Reader)