Spent about an hour on the phone yesterday with a few of the marketing people from Backbeat Books, who will be putting out Running The Voodoo Down: The Electric Music Of Miles Davis in October, not September as I originally thought.
They seem like nice folks, and I'll be glad to help them sell the living shit out of my book by whatever means I can. (Click here to preorder.)
But until it streets, I gotta focus on current work, which includes reviewing the new Bad Plus disc.
On first listen, I'm not loving it as much as I'm kinda shaking my head in genial bafflement. It's a piano-trio disc, with no guest vocalists or instrumentalists, so right away you're riding the bullet-train to Sameytown. But what really gets me about these guys is how influenced they sound by 70s radio-rock. The piano player, Ethan Iverson, sounds like he spent way more time listening to Billy Joel and Rick Wakeman than, say, Ahmad Jamal or Bill Evans. Basically, if Ben Folds would shut the fuck up for a minute, he'd be this guy. Is that "jazz"? Well, it's instrumental music featuring piano and upright bass and drums, so maybe. I mean, Matt Shipp's last few records have been beat-driven, slathered in electronic processing, and loop-like in structure, and there's no way I'd argue that they were anything but jazz albums. So there's room for the Bad Plus in the tent, for sure.
Bigger question: Would I listen to them if I wasn't being paid to do so? Probably not. Will this album excite or disappoint their fans? Can't say; haven't heard the last three discs. I'd bet longtime BP listeners will be pleased. There's certainly nothing here that's gonna shock or piss off the listener.