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SHOW REVIEW: The Bad Plus Amidst a Residency at the Jazz Standard


Sixteen years down the line, quirky jazz trio The Bad Plus are still the best at what they do: a mix of free jazz and pop/rock that tickles the listener with virtuosic playing. Amidst a five-night residency at New York City’s Jazz Standard, the trio are trying out new material presumably for an upcoming release of cover tunes. Last night, they mixed some of those “fresh baked cookies,” as bassist Reid Anderson put it, along with originals to make for a great night of music in a way that only The Bad Plus are capable of putting on.

The trio began with “Let Our Garden Grow,” a tune by pianist Ethan Iverson, before heading into drummer Dave King’s “The Empire Strikes Backwards.” After that, Anderson announced that they’d be trying out some new material for the first time amidst this residency, prepping us for what was about to come. Fitting to the NYC vibe, a cover of Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale” went down before diving into “Turn It On Again” by Genesis, to chuckles from the crowd. Anderson joked about the latter cover being a “burnt cookie” before retracting and saying that “maybe it just had less chocolate chips in it than the others.” While the tune may not have lived up with his standards, the crowd seemed to gobble it up no problem.

“Thrift Store Jewelry” by King allowed the drummer to flex his seriously impressive skills on one of his own tunes, and then the group jumped into “Time After Time,” the Cindy Lauper track that has been played by Miles Davis, Robert Glasper, and dozens of others. It was played in expect fashion, but 0ne can’t help to want more from the trio who has also covered Aphex Twin, Radiohead, Neil Young, etc.

After an Iverson tune called “Re Elect That,” The Bad Plus ended things with another pair of covers in the form of Robert Plant’s “Big Log” and a TV On The Radio tune that I couldn’t quite catch the name of. Amongst the batch of new covers, the Robert Plant take and the Velvet Underground proved to be tastiest, while the other cookies maybe need just a little more time to perfect the flavor. If the trio’s track record is any indication, they’ll find the perfect recipe in no time.

The Bad Plus continues their residency tonight with shows through Sunday. Tickets are available for those here.


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