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For All I Care

27 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 3, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

2009 release from the Progressive Jazz trio joined on this album from guest vocalist Wendy Lewis. The album marks the first Bad Plus recording to include a guest vocalist as the fourth instrument in its sonic arsenal. But For All I Care is more than just an album pairing a singer with a backing band. The recording is inspired in part by the collaborative recording by John Coltrane and vocalist Johnny Hartman, released in 1963. 'Coltrane's quartet had already developed a group language, and then they enlisted this incredible singer without changing the language of the band,' says the band. 'In that same sense, this is still very much a Bad Plus record. We just happen to have a great singer singing the songs with us.'

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Even for a band whose renown rests largely on its virtuosic approach to iconic cover tunes, the Bad Plus practically outdoes itself with For All I Care. Wilco gives way to Yes. The Bee Gees meet “Barracuda.” Igor Stravinsky (“Variation d’Apollon”) nestles up against the Flaming Lips (“Feeling Yourself Disintegrate”). This gymnastic set list derives much of its whimsical strength from the addition of vocalist Wendy Lewis, who joins pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer David King for the majority of the album. Any singer would be hard-pressed to match the lyrical touch with which Iverson usually interprets vocal lines, and while Lewis’s clarion voice commands attention throughout, it leads a handful of these tracks away from the compelling uniqueness that generally marks a Bad Plus cover from the get-go. (Skip Nirvana’s “Lithium.” Just skip it.) Nevertheless, this foursome is certainly more than just a band plus one. “Comfortably Numb,” for example, gives Pink Floyd a serious run for its--er--money. For Bad Plus “purists,” the addition of Lewis marks a love-it-or-leave-it sidestep in the group’s well established tradition of reverent, playful caprice. For those who happen upon the Bad Plus for the first time here, get excited: For All I Care follows four much better albums, so you’ve got a lot to look forward/backward to. --Jason Kirk


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 3, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Heads Up
  • ASIN: B001KPAQXA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,473 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By lj on February 18, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I'd like to respond to a few criticisms here which I think are unfounded:

"Lithium": I am baffled by the amazon.com reviewer's suggestion to "just skip" the Lithium cover, with no further explanation. That's poor journalism in an "official" review--why doesn't he like it? Why not lay out his argument and then let the listener decide for themselves? On first listen, it's my favorite track on the album. They mess with the rhythm, introducing a pause or hiccup, which sounds to me like an extension or exaggeration of the original drum part, and it gives the song extra force. And Lewis really belts the ending.

The mastering: it sounds fine to me. In fact, this and "Prog" sound *less* processed than their earlier, Tchad Blake-produced albums (Fred Kaplan noted this in his stereophile.com review). Perhaps if you're the type who's listening in their special hyperbaric listening chamber with the $10,000 speakers connected by solid gold cables to the amp and turnable floating in an isolation chamber...but then I don't know what to tell you. I noticed that the reviews complaining about the sound were posted before the US release date--was their something odd or different with the international version?

The engineering/decision to self-produce: it was mixed by Tchad Blake, the guy who produced and recorded their first few albums. It was recorded by Brent Sigmeth--google him to see what else he's done. These are rock/pop engineers, not strictly "jazz" ones, but it doesn't seem (or sound) at all out of line with their previous releases.

The singing: Wendy Lewis does not sound like most singers, especially over-the-top "I AM HERE TO ROCK" vocalists.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Riff Right on April 16, 2010
Format: Vinyl
Move over Steely Dan - AJA..here comes the Bad Plus. This is the new LP you want to bring out when people need to hear how awesome your stereo system is or how awesome records can sound. And Lo and behold..the music is masterful. How this LP is so far off the radar screen is beyond me..it should be on the top of every Stereophile,Rolling Stone,Absolute Sound..etc,etc, listening list.A fellow music lover turned me on to it and I was and still am totally blown away with this album.. I'm trying to spread the word! KB
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24 of 35 people found the following review helpful By jomojomo on December 12, 2008
First off, I love the Bad Plus. I've seen them live and I have purchased (not pirated) all of their albums including their first independent disc, so I'm no fair-weather fan. I was very excited about this record, but my excitement quickly turned to utter disappointment.

The mastering on this record is terrible. You remember the hullabaloo over the sound quality of the Metallica album Death Magnetic? Well this is the jazz counterpart. And if you haven't heard about the loudness war thing, go to Wikipedia and look up 'loudness war', or google 'pleasurize music' .

I really have no idea why a jazz trio would want to have poor sound quality on a record, unless they think loud=more sales. Where is the proof that loud mastering (especially in the Jazz world) = more sales? Here is a record where the piano sounds horrible, the bass is muddied, and the drums lack any punch. It sounds really really bad on my stereo. The brickwall limiting at 0 db and the occasional clipping makes this record, for me, unlistenable. I am sorry but I won't be buying anymore bad plus records unless I am sure it has been mastered properly. And because reviews rarely mention that, it means I will probably not be buying anymore.

I hope that this doesn't signal a general trend in Jazz records. I think it is a mistake because jazz fans care about sound quality and are generally older with better equipment then the average Brittney/Metallica fan so loud records will not be something they will enjoy.

I am also disappointed that the band decided to damage the music because it shows disrespect for their fans and disrespect for their music.

The music itself is quality Bad Plus, using the same formula as before except they added a singer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ned Isis on January 29, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I think Wendy Lewis is a very expressive and soulful singer, and well matched with the Bad Plus.
She has a great range of idioms that she travels, a dry delivery, capable of detached and very
controlled conversational singing, and moments of abandoned, revealing expression. The program
on the CD is very varied, Stravinsky, Pink Floyd, Babbit, Flaming Lips....The band sounds great on
this Tchad Blake recording. His aesthetic works well at integrating the singer into the Bad Plus mix.
It's a different kind of mix. A little rock and roll gauze. And their version of "Comfortably Numb"
to my ears is preferable to Pink Floyd's, which I love. And Lewis' reading of Cobain's "Lithium" seems
right on target to me. Complex. Emotional. Disturbing. Musical. Next time around I would like to hear
her improvise melodically, with no words. But maybe that's not one of her things. Besides that, full speed
ahead. These are the vistas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A music lover on March 25, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I'm really puzzled by the negative reviews. I'm not an audiophile, so maybe I'm missing the sound issues raised here, but the album sounds fine to me. And the vocals are just fine, too - advice to "ditch the singer" is misguided and perhaps just a reflection of the reviewer's own taste. And, frankly, I think the cover of "Lithium" is one of the album's many strong points.

This is an amazing album. Creative arrangements that respect the originals while contributing something new. Gotta give props to a band that can cover such a wide array of sources, from Ligeti to the Bee Gees, Nirvana, Heart, Wilco, Flaming Lips, Stravinsky - what can't they do? The Pink Floyd cover is perhaps the best thing here. I dare say I prefer it to the original.

If you like progressive jazz trios, have eclectic musical tastes, and enjoy the bands being covered here, then just buy it already!
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