26. The Bad Plus: These Are the Vistas (Columbia, 2003)
This was the second album released by the Bad Plus—the genre-busting trio featuring Ethan Iverson on piano, Reid Anderson on bass, and Dave King on drums—but it was their first fully realized artistic statement, featuring original compositions along with unexpected covers of Nirvana, Blondie, and Aphex Twin. The band members were clearly in command of the jazz tradition, but at the same time willing to toy with the standard repertory in a dry way befitting their Midwestern roots. By covering “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” for instance, the trio introduced jazz to a wider range of listeners than the music typically attracts. Though Ethan Iverson left the band last year, the Bad Plus lives on with a new pianist, Orrin Evans.