The Bad Plus Made Possible

Before there was BADBADNOTGOOD, there was the Bad Plus. With their eighth studio album, the one-time "bad boys" of jazz have begun their grace slide into adulthood with Made Possible. Breaking ground a decade ago with brazen covers of Nirvana, Pixies and Aphex Twin, the Minneapolis trio have since switched gears, incorporating vocals (courtesy of Wendy Lewis) on 2008's For All I Care and releasing their first full-LP of originals with 2010's Never Stop. On Made Possible, the Bad Plus try their hand at electronic instrumentation, injecting electronic drums and synthesizer sounds into their heretical/traditional worldview. But synthetics make for strange bedfellows on Made Possible, as tracks like the marching-band-on-midi-themed "Re-Elect That" and flaccid swinger "Sing for a Silver Dollar" attest. Although Ethan Iverson's piano remains as dazzling as ever and the rhythm section still challenges jazz's stuffy leanings, the Bad Plus can't help but feel gimmicky and out of their element on Made Possible. This is a far cry from their limitless origins. (eOne)