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Never Stop CD
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For the past ten years The Bad Plus—Reid Anderson on bass, Ethan Iverson on piano and David King on drums—have created an uncompromising body of work, shattering musical convention. Rolling Stone called their amalgam of jazz, pop, rock and avant garde “about as badass as highbrow gets,” while The New York Times said the band is “better than anyone at mixing the sensibilities of post-'60s jazz and indie rock.” Few jazz groups in recent memory have amassed such acclaim, and few have generated as much controversy while audaciously bucking musical trends.
While the bulk of their output has been originals, they have famously deconstructed covers in the pop, rock, electronic and classical idioms. With Never Stop they tackle their first album of all-original material – taking inspiration from the genres they’ve previously covered.
The Bad Plus will be in the UK in November 2010, curating a weekend of gigs at King’s Place, as part of the London Jazz Festival, as well as performing their own sets through the weekend.
Top Customer Reviews
The sound quality on vinyl is well up to standard and in places stunning, though overall it is let down by poor quality pressings, surface noise largely due to severe lack of quality control - scuff marks, pops and clicks all due to lack of care in the pressing/finishing department. Hope the band finds another maker who takes a little pride in their work and can do Bad Plus better justice on the vinyl front, I was put off buying their other vinyl release "For all i care" for this reason, but who cares, I am only the one buying their music, after all...though I hope I Never Stop.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
We always knew they didn't need to do covers, but they did it anyway, almost as an anchor for each album release. Their most recent prior album "For All I Care" featured vocals for the first time and included a whole bunch of covers. The group said they wanted to "shake things up."
Well, now that I'm shaken up, they do it again, only 19 months after their last release! "Never Stop" is all original material! Almost as a warm-up, a kind of stylistic overture, the album starts with "The Radio Tower Has A Beating Heart." It's prog jazz with no apologies. The title song "Never Stop" has me hoping they won't. It's probably the most accessible cut for new listeners. "You Are" is another fine example of how wide open the sound of this trio can be.
The more melodic numbers, "People Like You," "Snowball," and "Bill Hickman At Home" are more traditional in shape and sound. However, when the performer is The Bad Plus, more traditional is still very progressive.
The album ends with "Super America," a wonder tune that pays homage (in a very Bad Plus way) to Americana and the wide open plains.
I hope they never stop doing all original albums. Even if they don't stop doing covers.
For the first time ever the Bad Plus, who are known for their clever jazz arrangements of modern pop & rock tunes, have released an album with all original material. After several albums of doing a mixture of covers and originals, the Bad Plus did a CD of all covers with "For all I care", and now with "Never Stop", a CD of all originals. The Bad Plus is a jazz trio featuring Ethan Iverson on piano, Reid Anderson on bass, and Dave Kingman on drums. Their sound is very modern post bop (post modern post bop?) with a strong flare for the avant-garde. On "Never Stop" they've gone big with grandiose, epic, original anthems. They've written 10 great songs, each one epic and post modern. It's hard to choose which are my favorites. This is CD is a must have for Bad Plus fans. Fans who like their originals are going to be in heaven when they hear this release. Also fans of the piano/bass/drum jazz trio not familiar with the Bad Plus will probably enjoy seeing where these guys have taken this classic jazz format.
Radio Tower Has a Beating Heart - The song opens with grandiose, cascading waves of sounds. Iverson's crashing piano chords almost sound like waves crashing on a rocky shore. After about 3 minutes of this crashing background with an interwoven piano solo the songs cleans up into pretty melody.
Never Stop - This song sounds like a modern pop/dance tune. It is an upbeat and epic anthem. When's the last time a jazz trio made you want to jump out of your seat and jump around?
You Are - This tune has a driving bass line with a lengthy reflective piano solo. The piano solo has dark overtones and is sad and epic.
So that is what we are left with - emotions.
Never Stop is an entirely instrumental disc - without Wendy Lewis on vocals as in their previous album, For All I Care. So that leaves us with deciphering the jazz code, translating elements like meter, rhythm, cadence, and chords in to digestible experiences - an activity that requires a strong ear.
What first pops out to me about Never Stop is that it is relentlessly jagged. Ubiquitous throughout the entire album, phrasing stabs in unpredictable bursts that interrupt the listeners' expected flow of each song. Outside the realm of simple syncopation, off-beats of off-beats of off-beats punctuate each song with conviction, trying their damnedest to interrupt your comfortable listening process. Even compared to the jazz genre as a whole, this unpredictable phrasing is considerably avant garde.
I must make the distinction for you that there are important differences between avant garde and absurdest Neo-Dada noise music e.g. Yoko Ono's nauseating brand of art. There is, indeed, many layers of thoughtful construction and musicality buried within each track of Never Stop. They are just woven and layered in a manner that requires some careful listening and decoding.
Nor is it true that this album lacks any discernible structure or beat. In fact, my favorite track, Beryl Loves to Dance, is rooted on a fundamental-funk groove that is absolutely guaranteed to nod your head. Some songs are mellow introspections like Snowball, and some are a little more driving like the title track, Never Stop.
The disc is solid in its transportability; careful listeners will be able to let this album take them places as they examine new and interesting arrangements of three simple instruments.
The Good: The Bad Plus always delivers, and this is likely their strongest work yet. It's fun, it's creative, it's dense and ripe with new ways of looking at the world through music.
The Bad: Some people will never get jazz, especially the avant garde fusion of The Bad Plus.
Verdict: Definitely buy this album. The next rainy day, brew some yerba maté, and think about every note of this disc.
This review was written by myself for use on both the Amazon.com product review page and my music blog, Mystery Tricycle.