Tuesday, December 11, 2007

HurdAudio Rotation: Bad Plus 2-Z Surreal

The Bad Plus: Prog. 2007. Do the Math Records/Heads Up International: HUCD 3125.

Reid Anderson: bass
Ethan Iverson: piano
David King: drums

More band than traditional piano trio, Bad Plus isn't afraid to rock out while still bringing a steady dose of heady arrangements and compositions. Prog puts new perspective on Tears for Fears, Burt Bacharach, David Bowie and Rush while the original compositions place a sustained energy that satisfy a balance of head and heart.

Matthew Shipp Duo with Roscoe Mitchell: 2-Z. 1996. Thirsty Ear: thi 21312.2.

Matthew Shipp: piano
Roscoe Mitchell: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone

The texture and intensity between these two improvisation masters continues to grow on me. Roscoe Mitchell is simply outstanding in this session as he spins something fierce as a collaborative force. This is early Matthew Shipp and what he's learned from the likes of Mitchell manifests itself on later recordings. Here he is just keeping up and painting a great canvas while Mitchell soars.

Erik Friedlander: Maldoror. 2003. Brassland: HWY-005.

Erik Friedlander: cello

"I am filthy" delivers on its namesake with quiet, hard, brutal strokes of the bow across the string. When "Flights of Starlings" follows it's as if the weight and dirt have lifted to accommodate the sky. Friedlander's surrealist solo effort is a stable in the rotation and it gets better with each listening.


Brian said...

Devin, I'm still not sure what to think of The Bad Plus. I listened to a few cuts on some recommendations, but didn't really connect with what they were doing. It seemed kind of gimmicky to me, but apparently that's not their approach and they truly believe in what they're doing. I guess why I've still reserved judgement is that it's not really all that new what they're doing—playing pop standards in a jazz/rock context. I'm thinking specifically of Herbie Hancock's album The New Standard.

Devin Hurd said...

Hi Brian,
What TBP is doing certainly isn't new. They seem to be making connections with popular musics in a way that feels more in line with what the 'jazz standards' were when they were contemporary show tunes for audiences 40 - 60 years ago. If their recordings were exclusively made up of covers and/or their original material wasn't actually stronger than the covers I'd be inclined to agree with the gimmick opinion. As a piano trio they have some polished arrangements that do appeal to me. I don't know if I feel close to what they're doing (I'm probably closer to TBP than Matmos)- but I can dig it. It was Ethan Iverson's intelligent postings at his Do The Math blog that led me to tune into TBP and I do think they earnestly believe in what they're doing.

Brian said...

I'll have to give them a go again. Steve Smith was who I heard of them from and he's very complimentary. I think Molly might be seeing them at Carnegie tonight and she's of the same opinion as me, I believe. Will be interesting to get a report from their live show.