Math Jazz

The Bad Plus came to most people’s attention by covering “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” so it’s fitting that the rock-loving jazz trio should tackle another gem from Nevermind on its latest album. And, yes, the new For All I Care kicks off with a cheeky reading of “Lithium,” but it’s worth noting that the Bad Plus isn’t simply a trio this time around and doesn’t settle only for boundary-stretching instrumentals. Minneapolis rock singer Wendy Lewis provides lead vocals, adding a new facet to the band’s trademark reinterpretations. Having tackled the likes of Rush, Aphex Twin, the Pixies, and Blondie in the past, the Bad Plus and now Lewis embrace such radio staples as Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” and Heart’s “Barracuda” while also tipping their hats to Wilco, K.D. Lang, the Flaming Lips, the Bee Gees, and, surprising us once more, Igor Stravinsky. No offense to Lewis, but the latter allows bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson, and drummer David King to showcase their wares without vocals crowding them. But lest you dismiss the Bad Plus as a gimmicky covers act, they’ve contributed original compositions in the past that are every bit as interesting as their excavation of pop-culture touchstones.
Sat., Sept. 12, 8 & 10 p.m., 2009

 
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