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THE BAD PLUS
SUSPICIOUS
COLUMBIA

This acoustic jazz trio for the most part replace the elastic, flowing time of jazz with precise, nervous metrics more akin to rock. Thereís all the wit and bombast of past Bad Plus discs as well as technical derring-do and fiendishly complex arrangements, but only one cover, the theme from Chariots of Fire, with just a dollop of the cheese that selection might suggest. (The Bad Plus have been known to cover "Iron Man" and "We Are the Champions.") With pianist Ethan Iversonís grand classical-style sequences, and barely a jazz chord to be heard (not counting "Let Our Garden Grow" or "O.G. Original Gentleman" on the new album), you might wonder at times whether you havenít gone past Brad Mehldauís dense romantic solo musings right into Emerson, Lake & Palmer prog. But those nervous fragmented beats slipping in and out of the unison passages, Iversonís undeniably hip chromatic runs, bassist Reid Andersonís full-toned jazz-like attack, drummer David Kingís all-over-the-kit free-jazz hyperkinetics, and the general pop gleam in the tunes might also make you want to throw up your hands and clap yeah. Or at least, "I give."

The Bad Plus + Color and Talea | Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville | Oct 1 | 617.776.7777

BY JON GARELICK


Issue Date: September 30 - October 6, 2005
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