We LOVE The Bad Plus and we LOVE Joshua Redman so their new collaboration The Bad Plus Joshua Redman released last month on Nonesuch is nothing but a godsend. Our very own Jason Stillman already gave us his take on the record which can only be summarized as “awesome” and we already shared live sets of the supergroup from concerts at Vitoria-Gasteiz and at the Detroit Jazz Festival. But can you really ever get too much of The Bad Plus Joshua Redman? I didn’t think so… So for all the superfans out there, here’s a new video of the band performing a one hour set last September at Jazz a la Villette in Paris. You can cop the album at all your finest online and brick-and-mortar retailers and make sure to peep the bottom of the post for concert dates by the quartet. You wouldn’t want to miss them if by any chance they’re coming to your neck of the woods.
I was a bit skeptical upon first hearing of The Bad Plus Joshua Redman (Nonesuch). BP members Reid Anderson (bass), Ethan Iverson (piano), and Dave King (drums) have asserted in the past that their trio is a collaborative effort and that each of them strive to contribute equally as players, composers, and artist I wondered how Joshua Redman would change the dynamic of the tightly knit triumvirate who have been playing together for 15 years. When I think of Redman, I picture him as being featured out in front of a rhythm section, not blending within one. He attracts a lot of attention onstage and not only because of his musical prowess. He is an exciting performer who kicks up his knees and bobs up and down and… maybe I am wrong but I seem to remember a performance in Tokyo where he took his shirt off while playing a saxophone solo. The trio rarely invites musicians into their circle of trust and I questioned how Redman would handle the challenge of joining the cohesive, clearly defined unit that is The Bad Plus.
The Bad Plus is likely responsible for single-handedly changing my whole view of jazz music. Prior to discovering their revolutionary These Are the Vistas, I was stuck listening to a lot of hard bop, mostly from the Blue Note catalog. They opened my eyes to a fresh, new and exciting take on jazz music, which is one of the main reason this site was created in the first place. Thank you The Bad Plus. The same can be said for Joshua Redman, who since winning the Monk Competition in 1991, has had a prolific career. I remember listening to Elastic and Momentum ad nauseam. Same thing can be said of his most recent James Farm albums. So it’s only fitting that these two groundbreaking forces of jazz music would eventually collide. Catch a full set by The Bad Plus Joshua Redman filmed last year at the Detroit Jazz Festival below. Their collaborative self-titled album is scheduled to drop next week, but can be streamed on NPR’s First Listen until then. Enjoy!
The Bad Plus, the highly-lauded modern-day legendary trio of pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer Dave King, continually push forward as artists, making music that always distinctly sounds like them while uncovering new places to take their sound. One of their compatriots is saxophonist Joshua Redman, who always compliments this group with a melodicism that he brings to everything else he touches. While Redman and TBP have played together before in live settings for various projects, it was only a matter of time before they all came together in earnest. This May finally brings this configuration together with The Bad Plus Joshua Redman on the Nonesuch label. Check out a stream of the old gem, "Dirty Blonde" (one of the only two TBP oldies you may know, the other seven tracks are new compositions), after the jump.
In 14 years together as a group, rhythms get to be familiar. This thematically was what I was getting at in the preview piece I wrote for the San Antonio Current of The Bad Plus' show last night at San Antonio's Aztec Theater. There's a sense of familiarity in the rhythm, a knowledge of direction. When I asked them how they do what they do, for example, in Reid Anderson's composition, "Physical Cities" off 2007's Prog (a song the trio unfortunately didn't play last night, something just a tad too complicated and a little too far back in their catalog to perform with the level of precision these guys are proud to demonstrate in every show), while I expected some sort of breakdown of specific counting, a lesson of polyrhythms that couldn't possibly have been conveyed to such a tender-minded admirer in the span of time of the tail end of a dinner break, Iverson jokingly answered they did so through telepathy. One might over 14 years of playing together and building such a body of work, most recently with Inevitable Western on the Sony-OKeh label, seriously consider that as a possibility.