I’ve been buried with real work and real reality, but I do have grand designs for review posts of the new Soundgarden CD, “King Animal”, which released today, and Stephen Lambe’s book, Citizens of Hope and Glory: The Story of Progressive Rock, which I’ve almost completed reading (very short review: 4.5 stars out of 5, recommended). In the meantime, in my unrelenting quest to show the many wonderful connections between prog and jazz, here are three covers of prog classics, performed by the trio, Bad Plus (band site).
For those who aren’t familiar with Bad Plus, the trio—Reid Anderson, Ethan Iverson and David King—has made its name by being, in two word, distinctive and controversial. Part of their distinct (and controversial, to some) approach has been to cover tunes that aren’t a part of the usual jazz canon. For example, have you heard many true jazz covers of ABBA’s “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, Heart’s “Barracuda” (with singer, Wendy Lewis), or Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man”? No, I didn’t think so. And those covers, in my opinion, are excellent; they not only get your attention but they reveal aspects and possibilities in the original songs that weren’t obvious before. And it is done with a winning mixture of intensity, fabulous interplay, respect for the material, sly humor, and some “out there” moments. The Guardian puts it well when it describes the trio in this way: “If the Coen Brothers put together a jazz trio, perhaps it would be like this, the comic and the dramatic rolled together.”
And how about the fact the trio titled its 2007 album, “Prog”? Fabulous! Here, then, are Bad Plus covers of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer”, Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”, and Yes’s “Long Distance Runaround”: