Events

The Bad Plus: 7.April.2010 - New York

As far as this musically adventurous but honest jazz piano trio goes, the whole is easily greater than the sum of its parts.

Though jazz trio the Bad Plus have made a name for themselves playing innovative covers of popular music (i.e. Radiohead’s “Karma Police” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”) such tunes are merely a drop in their sea of sounds. Wednesday’s early set at New York’s hallowed Blue Note found the group—that is, Ethan Iverson, piano; Reid Anderson, bass; and Dave King, drums—in their element and exploring all aspects of their original compositions.

Opening with new pieces, “You Are” and “Who’s He”, the group passed around rhythms and melodies like a game of telephone, each reflecting their individual style. Iverson, in a suit and tie, would create tender one-handed lines that could blossom into a flurry of notes, Anderson, in plaid, was disarming yet dynamic, and King, wearing a striped tee, would milk every texture imaginable from his drum kit.

King was also easily the most animated and physical player on stage, twisting and contorting his face while reaching across his cymbals to scrape them with various mallets or drumming with his fingers to match an ethereal tone. At one point he even used a plastic E.T. toy to add an eerie, screechy sound, not unlike a fax, to a new and untitled piece.

Two Anderson compositions were the set’s most prominent, “Rhinoceros Is My Profession” and “And Here We Test Our Powers of Observation”. Ridiculous titles aside, the former was a thunderous and cathartic burst, edging towards the rock end of the spectrum, and the latter’s underlying urgency was supported by King’s downright Latin feel under the elongated piano chords, syncopating hits like swinging hips.

Photos by Thomas Hauner

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image