Following its all-covers vocal album in 2008, jazz-rock trio The Bad Plus has made a point to remind fans just how unique and dynamic its original material is. Of course, that material always was a majority and a focal point, but certain albums (such as 2007 release Prog) skewed the “cover ratio” and featured more pop interpretations.
[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/The_Bad_Plus_My_Friend_Metatron.mp3|titles=The Bad Plus: “My Friend Metatron”]
Jazz trio The Bad Plus has made a name for itself by reinterpreting popular rock songs and jazz standards in addition to hammering out energetic originals. Unlike its earlier albums, the band’s most recent full-length, Never Stop, consists entirely of Bad Plus compositions. Its unorthodox, avant-garde approach to creative endeavors can be traced back as far as grade school, as this story from drummer Dave King demonstrates.
The Pine Wood Derby by Dave King of The Bad Plus
In the autumn of 1981, I participated in a Cub Scout event horizon called the Pinewood Derby. Little cars made of pine that had to be assembled from a kit by you alone, not you and your dad.
You were given a block of pine about the size of a walkie-talkie and wheels. You had to carve it in a shape that would allow the car to go fast down a track. You also had to paint it and detail it with racing stripes or personal flair concepts.
I believe there was a manual that was handed out to guide you in the possibly unfamiliar discipline of aerospace engineering. I didn’t read it because I don’t think it actually existed, and my dad refused to help me because he FOLLOWED THE RULES. I pleaded to my parents that I was sure kids were receiving help on the design and carving front because, like any awkward kid, you are aware that your peers that sort of “have it together” are receiving mysterious guidance and LOVE from many sources not as readily available to you. The Cub Scouts is actually an organization wholly devoted to shining a bright light on these deficiencies and dispensing the insecurity thusly.
Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on AlarmPress.com. Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases, leaving no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.
This year promises to be a great one for music. Isis, The Bad Plus, Mastodon, Dan Deacon, Coalesce, Jerseyband, Converge, and at least three Mike Patton creations (Mondo Cane, Fantômas, Crudo) are slated to release new albums.
Get the ETA on these and other anticipated albums after the jump.
As we enter 2009, here is a look back at our favorite posts from last year — including Q&As and interviews with Tuareg freedom singers, Japanese-infused prog metallists, and a regretful folk rapper as well as columns, top-ten lists, Lollapalooza coverage, and our DIY venue spotlight.
Infused with the energy of a hard-rock outfit, The Bad Plus wields its jazz chops with considerable force. In anticipation of the trio’s forthcoming covers album, For All I Care, ALARM has an exclusive MP3 streamer of “You and I Is a Comfort Zone,” an original song that will only be included on the album’s vinyl edition.