Music » Critics' Picks

The Bad Plus

8:30 and 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, January 7, through Saturday, January 10. Jazz at the Bistro, 3536 Washington Boulevard.

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The Bad Plus is known for its well-executed, jazzed-up cover versions of popular rock tunes (Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Black Sabbath's "Iron Man"), but the New York-via-Minneapolis trio is no cheeky lounge act – and it's definitely not looking to capitalize on goofy irony. Instead, the trio lays down a very listenable and focused modern-jazz sound based on tight grooves, tasteful use of dissonance and even the occasional (gasp!) backbeat. Its willingness to incorporate these pop-music touchstones doesn't dilute the group's jazz foundation — and thanks to its constantly morphing, genre-jumping arrangements, the Bad Plus makes music that's accessible and challenging at the same time.

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