The Bad Plus: “Never Stop”

The Bad Plus isn’t just a band; it’s a commentary on notions of jazz, of pop, on the intersection of the two. Their albums are all about the subtle subversion of what these easy genre signifiers have come to mean, and, as such, every new Bad Plus album feels like a critique of the one that came before it. the group isn’t interested in pushing any particular definition of jazz music so much as they are proving that, when a medium offers such endless possibilities, an easy definition simply isn’t in the cards.

Never Stop
is a subtle subversion of another sort; it tweaks not just ideas of genre, but of The Bad Plus itself. Once again, it’s a markedly different recording than the one that came before it. For All I Care was an album heavy on interpretations of pop songs and modern classical music, and it featured a vocalist — Wendy Lewis — on most of its tracks. Never Stop is vocal-free, but, shockingly, it’s also cover-free. It’s the first time in Bad Plus history that they’ve confined themselves to originals. And that’s something of a bold move: this is a band whose fame rests to a large degree on their combination of high-brow jazz idioms with songs by David Bowie, Nirvana, and Rush.

Read the rest at Stereo Subversion.

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