the Bad Plus with Wendy Lewis | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | Jazz | Chicago Reader

the Bad Plus with Wendy Lewis Recommended All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: 2009

Few groups have ruffled feathers in the jazz world over the past decade like the Bad Plus, and if it weren’t so obvious that they’re uninterested in squabbles about the genre’s proper boundaries, their latest album, For All I Care (Heads Up), would seem like a giant middle finger. From the get-go double bassist Reid Anderson, drummer Dave King, and pianist Ethan Iverson have rankled jazz purists by fleshing out their repertoire of originals with songs by the likes of Nirvana, Blondie, and Black Sabbath, but the new record goes even further. It’s their first with a vocalist (Minneapolis alt-rock singer Wendy Lewis), and it contains almost no extended solos and zero original material—on top of the usual covers, there’s a sprinkling of modern classical by Stravinsky, Babbitt, and Ligeti. For All I Care is basically a pop record whose instrumental vocabulary is rooted in postbop. Lewis delivers tunes like “Barracuda” and “Comfortably Numb” more or less straight, avoiding scat singing and overwrought jazzy phrasing. But Anderson, Iverson, and King put their own spin on each piece—their heady, chameleonic arrangements are full of displaced accents, ingenious instrumental and harmonic substitutions, and playfully elastic tempos. It’d be easy to see their treatment of pop as either sacrilegious or condescending, but I’m convinced that they sincerely love it—and I sincerely love what they do to it. Lewis will sing with the trio here. —Peter Margasak

Price: $25, $23 members, $21 seniors and children

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