Music » Critics' Picks

The Bad Plus

7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 4, to Saturday, January 7. Jazz at the Bistro, 3536 Washington Avenue.

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For every listener who greeted the Bad Plus' 2003 debut These Are the Vistas with open ears, a jazz elitist raised an eyebrow. The response was understandable, as the piano, bass and drum ensemble's oddball arrangements of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Heart of Glass" border on novelty, and the group tends to come off a bit tepid on recording. Live, however, the Bad Plus demolishes adversity, consistently proving its ability to share a wavelength and willingness to challenge each other with spontaneous frequency changes. If not yet in its own league, the Bad Plus shares a space with future legends Brad Mehldau and Medeski, Martin & Wood.

Fingers Crossed: If we're lucky, the Bad Plus might spice up its set with excerpts from its most ambitious reinterpretation yet — Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring."

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