The Bad Plus are playing at the Village Vanguard this weekend. That means they are a jazz band. But when I first saw them five or six years ago in the bandshell in Prospect Park, as part of Celebrate Brooklyn, the thing that impressed me was their aggressiveness. A rockish aggressiveness.
Ethan Iverson, I’ve learned over the years, is a great piano player, but what I gleaned that night was that he was great and always pushed forward. He was loud, he accelerated the tempos, he’s the king of the Bad Plus.
Curiously, the Bad Plus drummer’s last name is King. His name is Dave King. He is a loud, muscular banger on drums. Aggressive is a good word here, too. He pushes the tempo constantly, and on that night I saw them in Brooklyn he was a total force. This is a jazz trio that plays with a rockish intensity. Dave King brings the heat.
I don’t want to diss the bass player, but I have no memories of him when I’ve seen the Bad Plus live. But this clip is a down tempo version of a crinkly new wave song originally recorded by the band Tears for Fears in 1985. The Bad Plus bass player, Reid Anderson, kills on this tune. Maybe slow and thoughtful helps the four-string guy.
Ethan Iverson and Dave King will show their massive chops in other clips you can find everywhere, or when you go see these guys live (as you should), but covering Tears for Fears it is Reid Anderson who captures the groove.