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For All I Care by The Bad Plus joined by Wendy Lewis

This perennially hip progressive jazz crew garners the services of Alt-rock diva Wendy Lewis for a gala that is about as genre busting as one could imagine. Yet the key ingredient lies within the trio’s distinct musical aura that is largely about its picture perfect integration of jazz music into a disparate population of song-forms and styles. It’s almost as if these pop/rock and classical pieces were among the band’s self-penned songbook.

Lewis and the band launch the program with a promiscuous and memorable spin on Nirvana’s "Lithium." As the trio’s powerful insinuations via the all-acoustic format seem quite remarkable. With Reid Anderson’s deep bass lines, pianist Ethan Iverson’s resonating chord clusters and drummer David King’s punchy backbeats, the overall portraiture is contrasted by the musicians’ quirky, off-kilter detours and inventions.

The group casts a haunting, low-key rendition of Pink Floyd’s "Comfortably Numb," nicely flavored with Everson’s swirling chord maneuvers amid a tumultuous free-jazz motif towards the finale. And they spin YES’ "Long Distance Runaround" into a motif that sounds perfect for a jazz piano combo format, lustrously shaded by Lewis’ wistful vocals. However, the plot thickens on their hybrid progressive-jazz/classical take on Milton Babbit’s "Semi-Simple Variations.

The artists slam the momentum into overdrive during their pumped up cover of Heart’s hard rock hit, "Barracuda," which is shrewdly discombobulated by their cosmic breakdown during the bridge. Here, they uncannily mimic the power and presence of a rock band. Consequently, the trio seemingly owns the patent on bridging the proverbial gap between its persuasive integration of jazz related components and anything or everything that constitutes Western music. More importantly, the musicians defy any strict classifications while perpetuating a highly engaging mode of entertainment that yields the bountiful fruit.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: The Bad Plus joined by Wendy Lewis
  • CD Title: For All I Care
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2009
  • Record Label: Heads Up
  • Tracks: Lithium, Comfortably Numb, Fém (Etude No. 8), Radio Cure, Long Distance Runaround, Semi-Simple Variations, How Deep is Your Love, Barracuda, Lock, Stock and Teardrops, Variation d’Apollon, Feeling Yourself Disintegrate, Semi-Simple Variations (Alternate Version)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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