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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this album!! Unique, challenging and addictive!, 29 May 2007
Mr. Dominic L. Brown (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: These Are The Vistas (Audio CD)
If you like your music unexpected, restless and difficult then this is the stuff for you - the drums are all over the place, the pianist has a very "individual" harmonic palette, and the material is interpreted and arranged with no respect for convention - the results are absolutely superb, and this album inspires me as much today as it did on first hearing it abround 2 years ago - this album, and indeed all the albums by this trio of American thirty-somethings are in my regular listening list. Reid Anderson (Bass) is a real groovy player, who operates by feel, and creates a powerful undercurrent - and he has one of the best sounds in Jazz! On piano, Ethan Iverson is quite simply unlike any other pianist I have heard - I would call him the modern Thelonius Monk, although that's not quite right - suffice to say his unique style is immensely satisfying and well worth a listen. David King (Drums)is another unique player, with a light, restless touch that fills the record with rhythmic interest - he does not appeal to everyone, but he certainly appeals to me!

Right now as I write this I'm listening to track 4, the wonderful "Everywhere you turn" - a powerful, piano led groove, that manages to be incredibly chilled despite it's big sound and busy drums - SUPERB!

Many of you may have noticed that the band cover "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on this album, and some of you may be appalled at the prospect - Nirvana fans will be spinning wildly in their metaphorical graves, and Jazz aficionados will be wondering where serious jazz musicians will find the meat in a grunge anthem? Well, as a massive Nirvana fan (I started playing guitar the year before Nevermind was released) who now plays jazz in a bebop quintet, I can safely say that it should please a good few from both camps! Although the original holds a dear place in my heart, I can honestly say that this cover honors it and presents an alternative arrangement that I absolutely love. Other covers attempted by the band on this and other albums include "Iron Man", "Heart of Glass", a couple of Aphex Twin numbers, "Knowing Me, Knowing You" and numbers by The Bee Gees and Queen.

Overall, this is one for the acoustically adventurous, and one that will keep you entertained and intrigued for months if you make it past the first play! I can't imagine a world without a band like the Bad Plus in it, and I reckon you should check them out! By the way, if you get the chance to see them live, DO IT!! They love what they do, and put on an amazing show.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Vistas, 22 July 2004
Burjiz (Schaffhausen, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: These Are the Vistas (Audio CD)
I finally got around to this LP, after hearing all the praise that's been heaped on this trio. I approached "The Beautiful Vistas" with a degree of cautious optimism. While I was certain the music would be better than what the naysayers would have you believe, I also wasn't sure if the Bad Plus could justify the hype on this record. Well, I'm happy to report that this fine album passes the test with flying colors. You could practically close your eyes while listening to this LP, pretend the year is 1967, and wouldn't guess that this record was recorded in 2002. That's how timeless and fresh the music really is. The trio of players --a bassist, a drummer, and piano player-- fuse traditional jazz with pop sensibilities without sounding overly trendy. I braced myself for their cover of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and yet I was surprised to see how faithful their version remains to the original while they inject their own identity and flavor. But the track that really made my ears stand up was their cover of "Flim." I've been familiar with the Apex Twin original for years, and I never guessed that these guys would turn this electronic piece into such a pretty jazz number. However, the Bad Plus aren't some cheap lounge act that does only covers. They stand tall on the merits on their own compositions, such as the elegant "Everywhere You Turn" and "Big Eater," whose piano by Ethan Iverson often sounds like the work of a post-Y2K Dave Brubeck. All in all, this is a smashingly good record. It's not terribly original, but the music is done with skill and passion. Sit back and enjoy the "vistas."
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars maybe a little theatrical for some tastes, 17 Feb 2004
This review is from: These Are The Vistas (Audio CD)
This is a remarkable album showcasing a great new talent and a refreshing new take on the piano trio. From the opening assault of "Big Eater" through the brooding intensity of "Everywhere You Turn" to the reflective restraint of the "What Love Is", "These Are the Vistas" is an exciting and challenging experience. Simply having the nerve to take on the iconic "Smells like Teen Spirit" shows the measure of the Bad Plus' intent. Each track is distinct in approach, mood and feel. The playing is beautifully integrated despite Iverson, Anderson and King each posting highly individual and assertive performances; indeed simple "Trio" would be better nomenclature as the bass and drums play such forceful roles throughout. The style may be a little theatrical for some tastes, but this is certainly the antidote to the bland self indulgencies routinely offered by the Jazz world.
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