Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Bad Plus - Made Possible (Entertainment One Music, 2012)

The Bad Plus, pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King were briefly the most controversial group on the jazz scene with their innovative rearrangement of rock and roll songs for jazz trio. Gradually though, the group developed its own identity and all three members emerged as composers as well as daring interpreters of large scale works such as The Rite of Spring. The music the group makes is always forward looking and on this album of all original compositions they create dynamic music, adding subtle electronics on a few tracks for shading and texture. My favorite tracks from the album include the fascinating and propulsive “Wolf Out” which creates a percussive groove that drives the music relentlessly forward. “Seven Minute Mind” uses the uses the dynamism the band is famous for by setting up an uptempo feel only to juxtapose against it a slower, more gradual conclusion. “I Want to Feel Good Pt. 2” is a short blast of joyful trio interplay, with King and Anderson deeply locked in, allowing Iverson to glide effortlessly above their foundation. The lengthy performance “In Stitches” develops in a suite-like nature over the course of fourteen minutes. Beginning in a slow and meditative fashion, the music slowly ramps up its power and energy, developing a cohesive storyline that changes as the music converges on a lyrical conclusion. The final track “Victoria” comes as something of a coda or a postscript to the album. Iverson plays spare and contemplative piano which is gently supported by drums and bass. The song is deep and introspective, providing more questions than answers and leaving the interpretation of the music up to the listener. The music on this album moves in a connected narrative arc, with action, drama and pathos evoking a wide range of emotions. Made Possible - amazon.com

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