“The Bad Plus came together at the end of the 20th century and has avoided easy categorization ever since. They have won critical hosannas and a legion of fans worldwide with their creativity, unique sound and flair for live performance. The intensely collaborative trio has constantly searched for rules to break and boundaries to cross, bridging genres and techniques while exploring the infinite possibilities of three exceptional musicians working in perfect sync.
The band consists of founding members Reid Anderson (bass) and Dave King (drums) and new member Orrin Evans (piano); A group of passionate collaborators with no single “leader.” Never Stop II is the first full-length release from this lineup, comprised entirely of original music with each member contributing fresh compositions. The New York Times calls it “an exhilarating document” that sparks an exciting new chapter for the iconic group.
“Named for one of Ornette Coleman’s most evocative compositions, this all-star project honors the Coleman legacy along with the music of Coleman’s fellow Fort Worth native reed players Dewey Redman and Julius Hemphill, featuring the wildly inventive saxophonists Tim Berne and Chris Speed, and the Bad Plus rhythm section of bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King.
Sullivan Fortner, a pianist born in New Orleans, has an extravagant amount of talent and a hyperactive flow on the keyboard. He mixes chords and crossing patterns and two-handed unison lines, all at a rapid clip. Sometimes he’ll play with both hands right around the center of the instrument, but you’ll swear that he’s using every key. At other times, he really is.
“A musician of honesty within the vast field of mainstream post-bop, but never constrained by its parameters...one of the finest saxophonists in the business
A musician of honesty within the vast field of mainstream post-bop, but never constrained by its parameters...one of the finest saxophonists in the business
“Free jazz at full power!
Free jazz at full power!
Photo by John Rogers
“The trumpeter Tom Harrell has been doing this a long time, through various schools and vogues: He can play slow and fast and in between, sometimes all within a single line. But his improvising is always temperate and proportionate. He keeps you on the hook, but doesn’t shout, doesn’t stop the clock. Plenty of improvisers are specialists in now-ness, revealing a solo as a series of events, or present-tense flashes. With Mr. Harrell, it’s all one event. He’s always processing ahead and behind, and you feel as if you’re hearing the whole of the narrative at all times, from was to is to will be...Mr. Harrell has been one of the best composers, improvisers and bandleaders in jazz since the late ’80s, and he knows how to make contrasts sound exciting: playing slowly over a fast tempo, playing quietly but with power. But he also uses the contrast of his own sound set against that of the groups he’s playing in.
Photo by Keith Major
“The music is forever moving, riding streams of intriguing, pleasing sounds — ambling grooves, burrowing piano solos and colorful and often unpredictable multi-saxophone lines. All are tributaries of a highly personal music that’s clearly drawn from jazz tradition but headed in new, unexpected directions. It’s brainy, yes, but heavy on emotional content, too.
“The guitarist Gilad Hekselman has a vision of modern jazz that’s harmonically fluent but not averse to simple melody or gentle, approachable effect.
“Mr. Sánchez, who has been an important drummer in jazz since the turn of this century, hardly had anything left to prove about his capacity for dynamic orchestration — it has been a hallmark of his work with the guitarist Pat Metheny, the vibraphonist Gary Burton and others. But when “Birdman” raised his profile, he was poised and ready.
Photo by Josh Goleman
“Mr. Wendel is a naturally inquisitive musician whose credentials branch out beyond jazz. (He briefly toured with Snoop Dogg.) He’s a member of Kneebody, a postmillennial groove band with a sizable following, as well as an accomplished solo artist and Grammy nominated producer. [His] music is intricate and technically imposing, but suffused with consonant melody and aglow with a spark of connection.
“The great saxophonist Joe Lovano has appeared on a number of ECM recordings over the last four decades, but Trio Tapestry is his first as a leader for the label. Lovano and pianist Marilyn Crispell are in accord at an advanced level inside its structures. ‘Marilyn has such a beautiful sound and touch and vocabulary,’ Joe enthuses. Drummer Carmen Castaldi also responds to the trio environment with sensitivity, subtly embellishing and detailing the pieces. 'We play together like an orchestra, creating an amazing tapestry. I brought in the material, but there’s an equal weight of contribution, creating music within the music, and harmonizing it in a really special way.’ A wonderful new group and music of flowing lyricism, delicate texture, and inspired interplay.
Photo by Shervin Lainez
“When it comes to the boundary-stretching spirit that has become so widespread among many of today's leading jazz musicians, drummer Mark Guiliana deserves credit for being one of the most enthusiastic embodiments of this attitude. He has a longstanding passion for electronic music [and a] genuine love of rock. Utilizing a standard, acoustic instrumental lineup, this group is as close as Guiliana gets to "conventional" jazz music. But it still bears the traces of his many other influences, allowing for an enticing amalgam to emerge organically and compellingly.