On the final track from jazz trio BADBADNOTGOOD‘s 2011 debut BBNG, we hear a bit of casual banter between two members of the band: “So Alex, what do you think of Giant Steps (a classic jazz piece by John Coltrane)?” “Fuck that shit. Everyone’s playing it, it’s fifty years old, it sounds like crap, write a new song.” This attitude, and the inclination for pushing past conventions and rewriting the rules is what lies at the heart of BADBADNOTGOOD’s music.

The music of BADBADNOTGOOD aims to spread the love of jazz – a genre considered to be only for a tiny, mostly adult audience – to a wider, younger mass of listeners by infusing it with elements of hip-hop and electronica. And it is quite evident that this aim has largely been achieved, seeing how the band has quickly become one of the most popular contemporary jazz groups, now collaborating with artists like Kendrick Lamar, Tyler the Creator and making an entire album with Ghostface Killah (of the Wu-Tang Clan).

On BBNG, the trio display their strong and refined musicianship while keeping the record easy and fun to listen to. On the opener, Based is How You Feel Inside, we are welcomed by the tight drumming of Alex Sowinski, as he uses the track to give us a quick drum solo. It is when we reach Improvised Jam, however, that we see the group’s brilliant chemistry together, as they play off of each other’s cues and build up to intense climaxes. While, most of the album consists of reinventions of popular music that the band loves ranging from Joy Division to Nas, the trio’s style and personality shine through to the point that the songs they cover take on an entirely new meaning. The 11th piece, Title Theme/Saria’s Song/ Song of Storms, is perhaps the greatest display of Matthew Tavares‘ skill as a pianist, and toward the end, the track also gives us a spectacular bass solo by Chester Hansen. Fall in Love, meanwhile, is a soft and minimalist ballad that charms with its subtlety.

Favorite Tracks: Improvised Jam, Mass Appeal/ Transmission, Title Theme/ Saria’s Song/ Song of Storms

Track List
1. Based Is How You Feel Inside 01:22
2. Fall In Love 04:11
3. Improvised Jam 03:54
4. Mass Appeal / Transmission 04:51
5. I Got A Bad Feeling About This 00:07
6. Salmonella 01:47
7. Freedom / Billium Evans (Prod. Seeds of Yaris) 05:17
8. The World Is Yours / Brooklyn Zoo 06:22
9. Listeriosis 04:14
10. Camel 03:04
11. Title Theme / Saria’s Song / Song Of Storms 09:34
12. Outro / Glasper 01:53

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