[JPL] The Bad Plus

Jeff Turton jturton at comcast.net
Tue Jan 13 22:25:43 EST 2009

The Bad Plus continues to get a rise out of Jazz folk. I figured that  
the reaction from most would be a bit of consternation when they put  
this one on. So what are The Bad Plus trying to do ? I think you'd  
have to ask them but I don't really think it's a huge leap from their  
past records. I guess past recordings could be considered more Jazz  
like because they were all instrumental, though that's been widely  
debated over the years. I would not necessarily consider it a Jazz  
record, maybe Acoustic Alternative with a Jazz Sensibility ? That's   
just a guess on my part. I really enjoyed Wendy's vocals. She reminds  
me a lot of a Boston singer named Amanda Palmer who's part of a group  
called Dresden Dolls. Wendy is not a Jazz vocalist and I doubt she  
cares to try and sing the American Songbook. I think what The Bad Plus  
has done is taken songs from the likes of Nirvana, Flaming Lips, Pink  
Floyd (Comfortably Numb is probably my favorite tune on the disc) and  
Wilco among others and given the material new possibilities. It is  
definitely aimed at a younger Alternative audience, which has been a  
big part of their fan base since the beginning. All the Bad Plus shows  
I've been to are mostly twentysomethings and definitely not a jazz  
audience. They've been doing this material from the beginning, they've  
finally added the vocal element. I guess they could have gotten a  
vocalist with more of a jazz approach but that's not certainly not the  
direction they've decided to pursue. Personally I like this record a  
lot and it certainly makes it easier finding something to close the  
show with. It's tough finding stuff that'll go up against Green Day or  
something just as jarring, which is what happens when FNX goes back to  
format after the Jazz Brunch. A tune like Lithium would more than hold  
it's own when facing that kind of a musical shift.

Jeff Turton
WFNX Jazz brunch

This from an interview at the end of December in a Minneapolis based  
publication. I think probably says it all

MinnPost: Why a singer? Why Wendy Lewis?

Dave King: We felt like it was time to collaborate with someone, and  
we thought we might as well go all the way and make a record with  
vocals. We were looking at singers and thinking about asking some star- 
type people, but then we decided we'd end up being the backing band,  
and the whole idea was, this is a guest for us. We talked about Tom  
Jones … we talked about Darryl Hall. Then we thought, we've gotta get  
someone who can deal with this kind of crazy music. I had played with  
Wendy years ago. Reid was a fan of her music. She ended up working  

MP: So this isn't a response to "is the Bad Plus jazz or not"?

DK: We're not concerned about that. We just believe in what we're  
doing. You're into it or you're not. We like being hard to classify.  
All of our heroes were hard to classify.

On Jan 13, 2009, at 5:57 PM, Jae Sinnett wrote:

> Sponsored by: JazzWeek Summit 2009
>              http://summit.jazzweek.com/
> -----
> Okay, I'll hold the tongue on this one but can someone help me  
> please...what is it? A little insight would be helpful in  
> understanding what they are doing or trying to do on this record.
> Jae Sinnett

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