Falling somewhere between Medeski, Martin & Wood, Ben Folds Five, and the Oscar Peterson Trio, power jazz trio the Bad Plus deliver more idiosyncratic instrumentals on their sophomore effort, Give. Featuring bassist Reid Anderson, drummer David King, and pianist Ethan Iverson, the Bad Plus follow a similar creative path as on their debut, These Are the Vistas, by interspersing original compositions with covers of popular rock tunes. This time around the Pixies' "Velouria" is turned into a kind of Sergei Rachmaninov does funk jazz number while Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" sounds something like a Claude Debussy arrangement of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." Otherwise, the trio evinces free jazz with Ornette Coleman's "Street Woman," and does a bombastic impersonation of Vince Guaraldi on the original "Layin' a Strip for the Higher-Self State Line." While obviously talented and often inspired, it is unclear if the Bad Plus are avant-garde enough to appeal to hardcore jazz fans, or pop-oriented enough to grab the attention of rock listeners. However, fans of quirky, experimental music may find this worth a listen.
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar