sun 22/09/2019

CD: The Bad Plus - Made Possible | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Bad Plus - Made Possible

CD: The Bad Plus - Made Possible

From Satie-like simplicity to player piano virtuosity, the US trio is on dazzling form

Joyfully charting the extremes of the music: The Bad Plus

Possessing one of the most recognisable sounds in jazz, US trio The Bad Plus don’t so much subvert genre as wrap it up in a little parcel and put an incendiary device under it. Jazz, rock, pop, country and classical all get thrown into their inimitable blender, as typified by album opener “Pound for Pound”, which traces a musical journey from Satie-like simplicity to an all-out rhapsodic assault on the senses.

“Seven Minute Mind” mines the trio’s characteristic embracing of minimalism, with piano and bass pounding out an aggressive, slightly crazed, ostinato before pianist Ethan Iverson peels off into a kind of hyperventilated romanticism. “Re-Elect That” sees the unlikely appearance of a fat synth line doubling Iverson’s melodic line – a new addition to the trio’s previously all-acoustic palette that really adds to the textural interest (the use of electronic drum sounds expands it even further).

The album’s standout cut, “Wolf Out”, again nods to the influence of minimalism, its monolithic groove sounding initially like the backing to an unheard melody. As it progresses, Iverson conjures up pianistic feats of ever-increasing complexity – with some lovely, rather Messiaenesque voicings en route – ending with a passage of player piano-like virtuosity. It’s breathtaking and exhausting at the same time: this is a band that joyfully charts the extremes of the music. Again, a squelchy synth line nicely beefs up the texture.

The trio really gets its groove on with “I Want To Feel Good Pt. 2”, a ridiculously catchy two-beat that still manages to confound and confuse with subtle rhythmic sleights of hand. “Victoria”, a tribute to the late Paul Motian (1931-2011) – a tune that the great drummer recorded on his 1974 ECM album, Tribute – immediately installs itself in your heart.

Watch a clip about the making of Made Possible:

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature


A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway


Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.



This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman


Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.


Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.