The Rite of Spring

The Rite of Spring

The Bad Plus are famous (or infamous) for their cover songs. Yet the jazz trio take this concept to an ambitious extreme with their own version of Igor Stravinsky’s once-controversial and now landmark music for the ballet. Written and first performed in 1913, this piece actually has many cornerstones of TBP’s sound: unconventional tonalities (“Evocation of the Ancestors…”), odd meters (“Games of the Two…”), primal rhythms (“The Augurs of Spring”), tension-and-release dynamics (“Glorification of the Chosen One”), and well-applied dissonance (“Ritual of Abduction”). Often playing the traditionalist role in the band’s chemistry, pianist Ethan Iverson takes a starring role here, firmly linking the band to the work’s classical origins. Drummer Dave King adeptly highlights the primal nature of the ballet’s subject matter. Even though much of this album is the three of them playing the material together—bassist Reid Anderson provides orchestral harmony and pulsing rhythm—the album’s “Introduction” includes electronic touches and production trickery. Things soon settle in, and The Bad Plus manage to pull this Herculean task off all on their own.

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