The Bad Plus is jazz that goes head-to-head with grunge, punk and pop music. Or art-pop that has its origins in modern avant-garde jazz. Interpretations include Aphex Twin, Ornette Coleman, Blondie and Johnny Cash. Regardless of categorization, the band has a unique ability to combine searching aesthetics with an appeal to a curious audience. A world-wide fanbase and millions of streams on Spotify are a good verification of this.
The band has its origins in Minnesota. Since the start in 2000, they have released over 15 albums in various constellations. The latest incarnation of The Bad Plus is a pianoless quartet that includes guitarist Ben Monder. Under his own name, he has released 10 albums and collaborated with David Bowie, Maria Schneider and Paul Motian. “Evolution is necessary for life and creativity. We’ve evolved, but we’re still The Bad Plus”, say original members Reid Anderson and Dave King.
Reid Anderson, bass
David King, drums
Ben Monder, guitar
Chris Speed, tenor sax
The Bad Plus have grown from upstart into institution, one of the few contemporary jazz acts to show up on the mainstream radar in the years before the To Pimp a Butterfly watershed – Rolling Stone
The music was jolting and idiosyncratic and kind of maddening, in that it didn’t directly resemble any particular influence. Where was this coming from? – New York Times