view from the hill

A look at the elements and events that come into view from where I'm standing...
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... the stuff that matters in this life. Some flicker and are gone in a matter of hours
only to live in memory, others become life long travelling companions, never far from reach.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Bad Plus part 2

BP3May 15th, 2007
Last week I took myself off to see one of the great live acts in jazz – the Bad Plus. I've seen these guys twice before – in Hollywood a few years ago, and London in '05, and now they've got a new album out, they're hitting the clubs once again. Man, they rock! Yep, they’re a jazz trio – drums, bass, piano - but they pull from influences like they’re a JackFM DJ on an eclectic binge. In their ever-expanding repertoire of cover tunes they did a smoking version of Tom Sawyer by Rush (so you know I was smiling), and made a stadium-sized anthem out of Bowie's Life on Mars. The highlight of the first set was the meditative journey Giant off their new album.

The second set put an already incredible night into the stratosphere when they eased into a sublime Heart of Gold by Neil Young. The audience gasped.

Did I mention they’re a jazz trio?

progOf course, amongst the cover tunes that ranged from achingly beautiful to wryly comical, there were plenty of originals that are just a treat to hear and see live. In a genre known for loose structures and breaking of rules, this is a band that redefines boundaries. There's no "state theme, deviate from stated theme, pause-for-yet-another-round-of-solos, reconvene and restate stated theme." These guys keep you on your toes as an audience. They're inventive, energetic, chaotic, mischievous and insanely good at what they do.

If your up for some mind-expansion, check them out as they roll through your town.

In the meantime, hear a taste here…

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