The Bad Plus is a jazz collective made up of bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson, and drummer David King. The group formed in late 2000 to play a weekend club date in Minneapolis. On this same first gig, the nascent group played their first rock cover, Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Thus began The Bad Plus trademark of complementing original repertoire with their takes on mainstream pop "standards" including ABBA, Black Sabbath, the Bee Gees, Queen, Blondie, Aphex Twin, Neil Young, and Bjork.
While the covers helped to spread their reputation, they comprise less than 20% of the band's live repertoire. Anderson, Iverson, and King are all composers in their own right, each boasting a distinctive style. Iverson's music is the more intellectual and complex, Anderson's the more melodic and romantic, and King's the more rhythmic and surreal.
Four years ago, The Bad Plus released These Are The Vistas, their first recording for Columbia. With a sound more akin to a rock and roll assault than to the politeness of a jazz piano trio, with influences ranging from Stravinsky to Ornette Coleman, and a repertoire blending diverse original material and provocative covers of Nirvana and Aphex Twin, The Bad Plus earned a reputation as one of the most forward-thinking groups in music.
Championed by mainstream rock press, reviled by jazz purists, hailed by others as music's great hope, Vistas was embraced in the US and abroad. The group became staples at NPR and college radio and developed a strong presence on the international concert circuit, playing more than 170 shows in 2006 alone. Four years and two more landmark Blake-produced albums later (2004's Give and 2005's Suspicious Activity?), The Bad Plus turns the page with their newest release, PROG.