The Bad Plus Joshua Redman
In 2011, The Bad Plus invited saxophonist Joshua Redman to join them for a week of enthusiastically received performances at the Blue Note in New York City. They then played a handful of dates before heading into the studio last year to record their debut album, The Bad Plus Joshua Redman, which Nonesuch releases on May 26, 2015. Pre-orders at iTunes and nonesuch.com include an instant-download of the album track “Dirty Blonde,” written by bassist Reid Anderson. Seven of the nine tracks on The Bad Plus Joshua Redman are new compositions by the quartet members who, in addition to Anderson and Redman, include The Bad Plus pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer David King. The other two songs on the album, “Dirty Blonde” and “Silence Is The Question,” are new arrangements of Bad Plus favorites.
Of a recent show in Great Barrington, MA, Albany’s Metroland said, “The newly christened Bad Plus Joshua Redman took the stage … and proceeded to raise the roof. In a word, the music the quartet produces is sublime. More than that, it's as though Redman is the long-lost fourth member of the group, just waiting to be snapped snugly into place.” The quartet’s North American dates include New York’s Blue Note Jazz Festival (Highline Ballroom, June 10) and the Montreal International Jazz Festival (Théâtre Maisonneuve, June 26) before they head off to Europe; the complete tour itinerary can be found at joshuaredman.com and thebadplus.com.
The Bad Plus has almost exclusively performed as a trio for its nearly 20-year existence. Guests occasionally join the band in concert, but only one of their previous 10 albums has included a fourth member. Redman, however, has long enjoyed mixing his musical partners. He has collaborated with Brian Blade, Christian McBride, Brad Mehldau, and Pat Metheny, as well as with the SFJAZZ Collective and his bandmates in James Farm.
“On the live gigs, Josh plays magnificent, long tenor solos which are very much in the jazz tradition,” said Iverson. “That’s obviously not the focus when we play as The Bad Plus. It’s fun to for us to enjoy that extended blowing territory, especially with someone as great as Josh. On the album, however, there is still a focus on composition.”
Anderson told Minneapolis’ Star Tribune: “Josh is a professional of the highest order. He came in knowing our music to the point of memorizing it, with great, positive energy.”
Redman adds, “Playing with The Bad Plus has allowed me to explore a part of my playing, and my musical heritage, that I’ve never before accessed in quite the same way with any other group. The adventure with The Bad Plus pushes me toward the fringes and draws me into the core.
The Bad Plus -- bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson, and drummer David King -- have a well-earned reputation for pushing the limits on what is expected of a piano-bass-drums trio. The past 15 years have seen the genre-smashing band create a distinctive and original repertoire of inventive and exciting original music, along with iconoclastic covers of artists as divergent as Nirvana and Neil Young, Aphex Twin and Ornette Coleman. Earlier this year, the acclaimed trio took on one of the most influential works of the 20th century, Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (Sony Music Masterworks).
The Bad Plus’ tenth studio recording, Inevitable Western, is comprised entirely of originals and continues the band’s committed belief in what Nate Chinen of The New York Times dubbed ‘avant-garde populism’ -- the idea that serious music can be as engaging and accessible as it is forward-thinking and provocative. Inevitable Western sees the group exploring the same set of aesthetic principles that fired their inception: an exploration of myriad musical forms born of jazz and advanced using any sonic source that forwards music that is uniquely The Bad Plus. The spark continues on tracks like Anderson’s lyrical “Do It Again” and the post-rock twists and turns of King’s “Gold Prisms Incorporated.” This is an album where pop, blues and folk meld with classic melodies and rhythmic innovation into that rarest of hybrids: intelligent music for the masses.
A genuinely leaderless trio, The Bad Plus is equal in every respect, from composition to performance to production. The interplay between these collaborators has marked the group’s work from the jump, infusing it with carefully considered spontaneity, subtlety, style, and depth. An intense emotional twang permeates pieces like King’s “Adopted Highway” and the Iverson composition which gives Inevitable Western its title, evokes a spacious milieu redolent of Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas and the American West of Richard Avedon, dusty and open, weathered but free. Rich with mystery, Inevitable Western is The Bad Plus at their best, affirming them as one of the most audacious and imaginative musical collectives of this or any other era.
Inevitable Western was produced by The Bad Plus in January 2014 at The Terrarium in Minneapolis alongside engineer/mixer Jason Orris; the Executive Producers are Darryl Pitt and Chris Hinderaker.