Saturday, November 26, 2005

when maths met jazz

My love for The Bad Plus is well-documented and earlier this month everyone's favourite math-jazz-power-trio released their third studio album, "Suspicious Activity".

The release of "Suspicious Activity" has been blighted by Sony Records taking the bizarre decision to put spyware on US copies of the disc to stop PC users playing the CD they've bought on equipment that they own. Thanks, guys. The Bad Plus have been pretty vocal in their opposition to this on their website and new weblog.

It's a great album, a lot heavier than previous outings and with only one cover version, a righteous take on the theme to "Chariot's Of Fire" - guess they're getting mighty sick of being "that jazz band that do weird rock cover versions". No matter, as the tunes they write themselves are just fine, thank you very much.

The Bad Plus - Rhinoceros Is My Profession

As usual, the album was recorded as-live (a couple of minor embellishments but we shan't quibble) and captures the disturbing level of synchronicity between the trio - they change their mode of attack frequently and in an instant. It's head-spinning stuff, as The Guardian correspondent who went to jam with them found out. (read the article here)

My favourite bit in the article, which gives you a pretty good insight into their 'headspace', is where they talk about their ideal quintet featuring Ornette Coleman and Cookie Monster:
(drummer Dave King): "..that would be an amazing combination, if people could just get beyond the fact that it is Cookie Monster. Just visually it would be stunning: Ornette with a really beautiful suit, really playing, and this whole thing being done really earnestly, and Cookie Monster go-ing-to-TOWN and talking in double negatives all the time. It would be pretty happening."
The Bad Plus - Flim (Aphex Twin cover)

The new album conveys the ferocious power that they can conjure up live - as this tune confirms, they can also do beautiful and subtle, too

Visit The Bad Plus and buy "Blunt Object - Live in Tokyo"
Visit "Do the Math", The Bad Plus weblog
Buy "Suspicious Activity" (European edition)

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