CD 'Its Hard'

It's Hard

Full tracklist
External Link Buy now on Amazon
External Link Buy now on iTunes

The Bad Plus have cemented their place as an original music ensemble. Except for their interpretation of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring — their last four albums focused almost exclusively on original compositions. It’s Hard, however, will mark The Bad Plus’ return to an aspect of their roots, the very thing that first made The Bad Plus famous: the deconstruction of songs from the Pop/Rock and R&B worlds.

The Bad Plus' new album, It's Hard, is all covers. There's no particular overarching aesthetic to the selection. It encompasses alternative rock from the '00s (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV On The Radio); hits of the '80s (Prince, Cyndi Lauper, Peter Gabriel, Crowded House); a piece from free-jazz hero Ornette Coleman and one from a spiritual descendant of saxophone-blowing and melody-shaping, Bill McHenry; and some other unlikely idiosyncrasies (Barry Manilow). Neither is there a formula for approaching these songs. Some seem like acts of reinvention, disassembly and re-engineering (Kraftwerk sans motorik beat); others amplify the existing energy the best a mischievous acoustic piano trio can (Johnny Cash as a shuffle after too many drinks).

These covers, like those of 2003 or any since, are not "ironic" or "novelty." Somewhat naive, maybe; impishly tweaked, likely. But they're not high art looking down upon low art, or lifting it into its realm. If anything, Anderson, King and Iverson are pop agnostics who offer some fundamental respect toward each song, its creator and its potential. Their project always seemed to be foremost about applying an original dialect to any song, whether generated internally or absorbed, processed and rearranged. In that light, It's Hard feels like an intensive self-examination: a long-running band testing its powers of interpretation with whatever comes to mind. And it tends to be amusing.


August 2016

09 New York, NY -- Blue Note
10 New York, NY -- Blue Note
11 New York, NY -- Blue Note
12 New York, NY -- Blue Note
13 New York, NY -- Blue Note
14 New York, NY -- Blue Note
27 Koktebel / Ukraine -- Koktebel Jazz Festival
30 Kiev / Ukraine -- Atlas Club

September 2016

03 Chicago, IL -- Millenium Park*
17 Monterey, CA -- Monterey Jazz Festival**
30 Warsaw POL -- Studio Koncertowe Polskiego Radia

October 2016

01 Leipzig, DEU -- 40. Leipziger Jazztage/Schauspielhaus
03 Schiltigheim, FRA -- Le Cheval Blanc
04 Nantes, FRA -- Salle Paul Fort
05 Gent, BEL -- De Bijloke
06 Lugano, CHE -- Radio RSI - Studio 2
07 Brussels, BEL -- Flagey - Studio 4
10 Berlin, DEU -- A-Trane
11 Saint Jean de Vedas, FRA -- Le Chai du Terral
12 Singen, DEU -- Kulturzentrum Gems
14 Leibnitz, AUT -- LeibnitzKULT
15 Ferrara, ITA -- Torrione San Giovanni - Jazz Club Ferrara
16 Rouen, FRA -- Théåtre des Arts - Opéra de Rouen Normandie
17 Amsterdam, NLD -- Bimhuis