Bad Plus Recommended Soundboard

When: Thu., Dec. 15, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., Dec. 16, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., Dec. 17, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 18, 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2011

It's not a yuletide tradition just yet, but for the second December in a row the Bad Plus is in Chicago for an extended engagement at the Jazz Showcase. The trio of pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer Dave King headlines concert halls more often than jazz clubs, so this engagement is a rare opportunity to hear the group stretch out and dig into its repertoire—it covers four straight days, with two sets a day (and three on Sunday). The Bad Plus earned much of its early media attention for bold but always undeniably musical arrangements of unlikely pop and rock tunes—Aphex Twin, Black Sabbath, Nirvana, Wilco—but it changed things up on last year's superb Never Stop (E1 Entertainment), its first collection of exclusively original material. I caught the group in Vancouver this summer, where it inhabited those tunes so thoroughly that it could radically experiment with them, like a world-renowned chef can with a well-known recipe. At these gigs the Bad Plus will likely review some of the new music it just finished recording for a 2012 album—another collection of nothing but originals. —Peter Margasak

Price: $25-$30

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