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We always knew they didn't need to do covers, but they did it anyway, almost as an anchor for each album release. Their most recent prior album "For All I Care" featured vocals for the first time and included a whole bunch of covers. The group said they wanted to "shake things up."
Well, now that I'm shaken up, they do it again, only 19 months after their last release! "Never Stop" is all original material! Almost as a warm-up, a kind of stylistic overture, the album starts with "The Radio Tower Has A Beating Heart." It's prog jazz with no apologies. The title song "Never Stop" has me hoping they won't. It's probably the most accessible cut for new listeners. "You Are" is another fine example of how wide open the sound of this trio can be.
The more melodic numbers, "People Like You," "Snowball," and "Bill Hickman At Home" are more traditional in shape and sound. However, when the performer is The Bad Plus, more traditional is still very progressive.
The album ends with "Super America," a wonder tune that pays homage (in a very Bad Plus way) to Americana and the wide open plains.
I hope they never stop doing all original albums. Even if they don't stop doing covers.
For the first time ever the Bad Plus, who are known for their clever jazz arrangements of modern pop & rock tunes, have released an album with all original material. After several albums of doing a mixture of covers and originals, the Bad Plus did a CD of all covers with "For all I care", and now with "Never Stop", a CD of all originals. The Bad Plus is a jazz trio featuring Ethan Iverson on piano, Reid Anderson on bass, and Dave Kingman on drums. Their sound is very modern post bop (post modern post bop?) with a strong flare for the avant-garde. On "Never Stop" they've gone big with grandiose, epic, original anthems. They've written 10 great songs, each one epic and post modern. It's hard to choose which are my favorites. This is CD is a must have for Bad Plus fans. Fans who like their originals are going to be in heaven when they hear this release. Also fans of the piano/bass/drum jazz trio not familiar with the Bad Plus will probably enjoy seeing where these guys have taken this classic jazz format.
Radio Tower Has a Beating Heart - The song opens with grandiose, cascading waves of sounds. Iverson's crashing piano chords almost sound like waves crashing on a rocky shore. After about 3 minutes of this crashing background with an interwoven piano solo the songs cleans up into pretty melody.
Never Stop - This song sounds like a modern pop/dance tune. It is an upbeat and epic anthem. When's the last time a jazz trio made you want to jump out of your seat and jump around?
You Are - This tune has a driving bass line with a lengthy reflective piano solo. The piano solo has dark overtones and is sad and epic.
So that is what we are left with - emotions.
Never Stop is an entirely instrumental disc - without Wendy Lewis on vocals as in their previous album, For All I Care. So that leaves us with deciphering the jazz code, translating elements like meter, rhythm, cadence, and chords in to digestible experiences - an activity that requires a strong ear.
What first pops out to me about Never Stop is that it is relentlessly jagged. Ubiquitous throughout the entire album, phrasing stabs in unpredictable bursts that interrupt the listeners' expected flow of each song. Outside the realm of simple syncopation, off-beats of off-beats of off-beats punctuate each song with conviction, trying their damnedest to interrupt your comfortable listening process. Even compared to the jazz genre as a whole, this unpredictable phrasing is considerably avant garde.
I must make the distinction for you that there are important differences between avant garde and absurdest Neo-Dada noise music e.g. Yoko Ono's nauseating brand of art. There is, indeed, many layers of thoughtful construction and musicality buried within each track of Never Stop. They are just woven and layered in a manner that requires some careful listening and decoding.
Nor is it true that this album lacks any discernible structure or beat.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
CDs and MP3s have their place but there is nothing like listening to amazing music on an old school and genuine medium. Read morePublished on June 5, 2013 by Gpujic
I'm really pleased having bought this album.
I have recived this item in a very short time and in a great situation.
Strangely enough the jazz period of the 50s and 60s didn't end with a bang but instead a whimper that quietly disappeared. Read morePublished on January 22, 2012 by F. Y. Chan
Let me just set the record straight:
I LOVE The Bad Plus - LOVE them. Live, on record, online, Ethan Iverson's blog, Dave King's mastery of the instrument, Reid's... Read more
The Bad Plus is one of my favorite musical groups and several cuts on this, their latest CD, are masterful, I believe.Published on February 21, 2011 by Michael E. Nader
The Bad Plus consistently turns out high-quality jazz-ish material, and although the music on this isn't as memorable as other albums' (it's all original music--no covers), it's... Read morePublished on January 5, 2011 by Dinah Massie