This Thursday, the 19th, The Bad Plus is performing at The Neptune Theater. I first heard about The Bad Plus from their collaboration with saxophonist Joshua Redman, which was equally exciting and experimental. Similarly, on their own, The Bad Plus refuses to be confined into any one genre or sound. Drawing most of their influence from jazz, The Bad Plus often venture off into genres of rock and pop, but do it in a way that feels comfortable and not gimmicky. Known for off-the-wall covers of various rock and pop tunes, seeing The Bad Plus perform live will be an adventure through the realms of free jazz and pop music alike. The trio consisting of bassist Reid Anderson, drummer David King, and pianist Ethan Iverson all met back in high school and have been making music together since 1990. Regardless of what set the band decides to bring to the audience on Thursday night, it will undoubtedly be one that reflects their forward-thinking mindset and 27 years of musical experience together.
Lamar’s latest album, To Pimp a Butterfly, was undeniably brilliant. It was both lyrically and sonically divine. One
of the album’s most beautiful aspects was its funky, jazz-infused sound. I
wasn’t a fan of jazz before To Pimp a
Butterfly, but now I’m obsessed. Thank you based Kendrick.
as a genre, can be quite daunting. I had no idea where to start with it. So I
did the only thing I could do: I searched for “jazz” on Spotify. There was so much to listen to! I found some
cool Spotify playlists (Shouts to “Late Night Jazz”) that helped narrow down my
So, two months of jazz-capades
later, here are my three favorite albums. If you want to get started with jazz—and
you totally should, it’s dope—these albums would make for an ideal starting
Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Out
Dave Brubeck sure can
play the hell out of a piano. This album’s sound is playful and sunny. Perfect music
for rolling down a grassy hill, or for a wine-soaked picnic on the beach. The
seven pieces on this album each elegantly swell to their euphoric peaks.
“Strange Meadow Lark” is my personal favorite on this album. It’s pure bliss
when the horns kick in:
Coltrane – A Love Supreme
About six minutes into this glorious beast
of an album, Coltrane puts down his saxophone to chant “A Love Supreme.” The
other instruments carry on, providing a smooth backdrop for his chant. It’s a
simple and fleeting moment, lasting only about thirty seconds. But somehow, it’s
my favorite thirty seconds on this album. It’s amazing. It’s catchy. It’s
This album is abundant with such
moments of wonder. The whole thing just swings into your ears. Tension
frantically rises and falls in a majestic tide of harmony. This album feels
like an insane action movie. Like Die Hard. A Love Supreme is the jazz
equivalent of Die Hard.
Davis – Kind of Blue
This is a phenomenal album. Miles
Davis and his trumpet are a soothing balm to the ear. Also, the man himself,
John Coltrane, plays the tenor saxophone on this album.
The album kicks off with pensive
piano notes, an oddball bassline and tentative bursts from the trumpet. It’s so chill:
This album makes me feel like I own a
yacht. That’s a great way to feel, no doubt about it. I listen to this album almost every day. I brush
my teeth to it. I fall asleep to it. I even ate pizza to it once. If you haven’t
heard anything on this album yet, get with the program.
But, don’t just take my word for it all. Venture into the wonderful world of jazz and experience the magic for yourself. In the words of the great jazz pianist, Bill Evans (He also played on Miles’s Kind of Blue. That album is straight up star-studded), “You can’t explain jazz to anyone without losing the experience. Because it’s feeling, not words.”