Rolling Stone - 12/25/03, p.104
Included in Rolling Stone's "50 Best Albums of 2003"
Rolling Stone - 3/20/03, p.674 stars out of 5
- "...Bad to the bone, hot players with hard-rock hearts..."
Entertainment Weekly - 5/2/03, p.71
"...A piano-bass-drums power trio who's forged a fairly traditionalist jazz sound any rocker could recognize as spiritually akin. Think Vince Guaraldi at CBGB..." - Rating: A-
The Bad Plus: Ethan Iverson (piano); Reid Anderson (bass); Dave King (drums).
Recorded at Real World Studios, Wiltshire, England.
The Bad Plus threw a lightning bolt at the music scene in 2003 with its major-label debut THESE ARE THE VISTAS, a "jazz" record that rocked hard. GIVE offers more of the same, a potent combination of technical virtuosity and free-jazz adventurousness filtered through a rock sensibility. The group wastes little time in dispelling the notion that it's your run-of-the-mill piano trio, laying out its modus operandi in opening track "1979 Semi-Finalist." Drummer David King pounds a driving backbeat behind Reid Anderson's powerhouse bass while Ethan Iverson coolly rides the waves with graceful pianism.
Iverson moves easily from elegant lyricism ("Frog and Toad") to two-fisted sonic assaults ("Dirty Blonde"). King is the jazz equivalent of Keith Moon, playing with an abandon and intensity that always seems perilously close to crashing out of control. Anderson is a rock-solid anchor but shows he can stretch out, most notably on Ornette Coleman's "Street Woman." Once again, the band looks well beyond the world of jazz for some interesting repertoire choices, this time covering the Pixies' "Velouria" and Black Sabbath's "Iron Man." With GIVE, The Bad Plus again proves that defying conventions can produce artistically satisfying results.