The Bad Plus joined by Wendy Lewis, For All I Care

Posted on June 18, 2010 by

Artist: The Bad Plus Joined by Wendy Lewis
Title: For All I Care
Label: 2009 Heads Up International Recordings
Release date: November 5th, 2009
Genre: Jazz

I remember working once at a music store with drummer Dave King and he said, “I have the worst taste in rock music.” Well, I don’t know if I’d go that far, Mr. King.

If you’re not familiar with King and his cohorts (Reid Anderson; bass, vocals, and, Ethan Iverson; piano, bells) in the jazz trio, The Bad Plus, they’ve earned a reputation for jazzing up some radio rock standards. On For All I Care they’ve added vocalist Wendy Lewis to augment the trio and their character.

In Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” Lewis sings,

“When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse out of the corner of my eye.”

But when they turned to look it wasn’t gone and they did put their fingers on it. These are the melodies stuck in their heads from their past and this is how it is now processed.

Anderson underlying piano flourish during “Numb” is the equivalent of a morphine drip. During Nirvana’s “Lithium” intro, it starts as a rather straight read, until Anderson’s piano punctuates with dissonance. And Wendy Lewis’s shouts are primal releases playing off the non chalant delivery of the verses. Their combinations are disturbingly beautiful.

From Roger Miller to the Flaming Lips The Bad Plus venture into forays of discord, but always hold it all together. For All I Care should be the new benchmark for all jazz artists who attempt to cover rock songs.

A song like Heart’s “Barracuda” I never thought would work in a jazz arrangement, but it does. And even if King claims to have bad musical taste, “No right no wrong, you’re selling a song.” Selling and recreating the beasts.

Leave a Reply