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Concert: The Bad Plus at Berklee Performance Center

Trio performs Ornette Coleman’s “Science Fiction” with special guests

The Bad Plus
The Bad Plus

Fresh off their jazz-trio interpretation of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, The Bad Plus last fall began performing an extended tribute to another album-length musical landmark: Ornette Coleman’s 1972 release Science Fiction. Augmented by three horns-Sam Newsome, soprano sax; Ron Miles, cornet; Tim Berne, alto sax-the trio put its spin on the eight tunes on the original Coleman LP, plus two others recorded contemporaneously (and released a decade later on Coleman’s Broken Shadows), in October performances at Duke University and NYU. Last weekend, Boston’s World Music/CRASHarts presented the third performance of the program at the Berklee Performance Center.

The Bad Plus, of course, was already renowned (and in some quarters reviled) for performing serious instrumental covers of pop tunes by the likes of Nirvana (“Smells Like Teen Spirit”), Heart (“Barracuda”), Blondie (“Heart of Glass”), Queen (“We Are the Champions”) and Rush (“Tom Sawyer”), among others. Their turn to Science Fiction started with a single tune, too, but the group was more thoroughly invested in the music, and the larger project emerged gradually over time.

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