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The Bad Plus Return to CD in March

The Bad Plus’ Columbia album These Are the Vistas was the most talked about jazz disc of 2003. The band got hyped in every magazine from ours to Esquire because, like Brad Mehldau, they have the stones to put a bit of rock into the jazz piano trio format. Vistas mixed tunes like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” within a set of the band’s chaotic, labyrinthine originals. We liked it, but lots of conservative jazz fans dismissed it, claiming that a real jazz band doesn’t play Nirvana. Judging by the track list to the group’s next album, Give, those sourpusses will have plenty more ammo to playa hate with when the album is released on March 9, 2004.

Give‘s track list (below) looks very similar to Vistas‘ in that it’s a set of originals plus a couple rock-n-roll covers (plus an Ornette Coleman tune). This time out the Bad Plus offer rock-gone-jazz in the way of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” and the Pixies’ “Velouria.” No special guests appear on Give, it features the same lineup as Vistas: bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer David King. And producer Tchad Blake, who’s better known to rock fans as the Bangles’ and Sheryl Crow’s producer, returns to make the trio sound large and in charge again. Save for the songs, not much has changed at all. Give was even recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in England, the same place they tracked Vistas. Here’s the track list:

1979 Semi-Finalist (David King)

Cheney Pinata (Ethan Iverson)

Street Woman (Ornette Coleman)

Here We Test Our Powers of Observation (Reid Anderson)

Frog and Toad (David King)

Velouria (Francis Black)

Layin’ a Strip for the Higher-Self State Line (David King)

Do Your Sums – Die Like a Dog – Play for Home (Ethan Iverson)

Dirty Blonde (Reid Anderson)

Neptune (Reid Anderson)

Iron Man (Butler/Iommi/Osbourne/Ward)

Originally Published