The Bad Plus - The Rite Of Spring
March 16, 2014 8:37 PM   Subscribe

Modern proggy jazz trio The Bad Plus has adapted Stravinsky's The Rite Of Spring for their unique style. For a limited time, the album is available to hear online via NPR.
posted by hippybear (21 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Nice...thanks... great late night tracks...

Although, I've got to admit that coming to "The Sacrifice: Mystic Circle of the Young Girls", followed by Glorification of the Chosen One" brought on flashbacks of "Buffy".
posted by HuronBob at 8:48 PM on March 16, 2014

I must say, this is a remarkable job of compressing an orchestral piece in such a way that three instruments can play it fully without losing anything essential, or at least by adding something to take up the slack. I say this as a long-time fan of this particular piece of music as performed by any number of orchestras; I own maybe a dozen different recordings of the Rite, because it is a big piece that warrants interpretations, up to and including this one. I saw the dance performed by the Joffrey Ballet here in Chicago about ten or twelve years ago, on a big stage with a full orchestra. That was swell, but I could see this small jazz combo performance going on behind a group of four or five dancers working a black box stage, and I think I'd enjoy it just as well.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 9:13 PM on March 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

A group of friends and I saw them play this live, with fascinating difference in reactions: those of us who were familiar with the original "Rite of Spring" loved this version, while those who didn't know the original were unimpressed.
posted by twsf at 9:57 PM on March 16, 2014

I was just listening to this!

I gotta say, The Bad Plus can basically do no wrong in my ears, and I've loved all their work since a friend played me Heart of Glass when These Are the Vistas came out. Still, I wasn't sure what to expect when I heard about this particular project. But they've really delivered again. I love the interpretation. It's an awesome record.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:07 PM on March 16, 2014

Four versions of the closing dance in Rite of Spring. NSFW because it depicts the naked and almost-naked human form. I saw the (the late) Pina Baush and her troup perform their version (partly represented here) in NYC some years ago on a stage covered with a dirt floor. One of the most powerful and just-plain-raw-passion things I have ever seen on stage. Unforgettable.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:23 PM on March 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

I cannot agree enough that the Pina Baush dirt floor staging of the Rite is one of the most incredibly beautiful and moving things I have seen and I've only seen a recording. I envy you.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:25 PM on March 16, 2014

About twenty minutes into it I thought, "I don't like that drum beat there.", and then I realized that I had been completely consumed in the listening experience up to that point. I think what really threw me off was that I no longer wanted to be washing dishes.
I should really get back to that.
posted by current occupation: at 10:27 PM on March 16, 2014

Oh boy oh boy oh boy I love this trio soooooooooo muuuuuuch

*explodes in sonic pleasure*
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:26 AM on March 17, 2014

Love this post - I'm only passingly familiar with the Bad Plus. But this is an audacious attempt at extremely challenging music, and they nail it.

Consider me a fan - have to go investigate their back catalog now.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:17 AM on March 17, 2014

Thanks for posting!

I enjoy their music immensely. I saw them at the Allen Room in the Time Warner Center in NYC. The back of the stage is all glass, towering over Central Park South (59th Street). The reflections of car headlights looking like spaceships provided a visually interesting accompaniment to their musical style.

Here’s a day time view of the venue:
posted by noaccident at 6:42 AM on March 17, 2014

Awesome. Thank you for this. I was pretty psyched to hear about it. Glad to finally hear it.

Btw, The Bad Plus do a stellar cover of the Tears for Fears song Everybody Wants to Rule the World.
posted by eric1halfb at 7:25 AM on March 17, 2014

Wow, they just did a double-header on Saturday night at our performing arts center. We missed their Rite of Spring performance, but they did a free show in lobby afterward. Their dynamics are just astounding, and I have a new favorite drummer!
posted by obscurator at 7:28 AM on March 17, 2014

I get the idea that these folks are occupying the "jazz that rock people will listen to" chair, like Charlie Hunter in the 2000s. In my opinion, it's a trade up.
posted by thelonius at 7:52 AM on March 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is good!
posted by moonmilk at 9:24 AM on March 17, 2014

I'm grateful for all these reimagined, rearranged, recycled run-throughs of the Rite. They remind me usually within 2-3 minutes that there's nothing like the real thing and so I leave to seek out new videos of orchestral performances on YouTube or to dig through my collection for my favorite recordings.

I used to be into this kind of thing when I was younger (Uri Caine did some CDs with Bach and Mahler etc.), but I'm not actively against it. I've played the proper orchestral version, a version for four grand pianos and percussion, and even an "eclectic" version for 9-players including sax, electric guitar, synth etc. It's fun but really, nothing comes close or compares legitimately in any way with the real thing. Nothing is EVER "improved upon" when you diddle with this masterpiece. It may be fun and for some listeners it could be extremely enlightening, but I'm always hopeful that these arrangements will lead the listener to the true work, and will foster a heightened sense of experience with the original work, and will never ever be a replacement for the original work. It's a testament to the staggering achievement of such art/music/dance when the work continues to captivate musicians and inspire them to find their own voice in the work. But the trade off is that there might be some people who only know the derivative, not the foundation!

I warmly encourage those who love Le Sacre to make it a goal to hear a great orchestra perform the piece some time in their life.
posted by ReeMonster at 12:15 PM on March 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I really like Uri Caine's Mahler stuff.

There was a band, based I think in Chicago, or perhaps not a band so much as a one-off project, called the Butcher Shop Quartet, that did a rock version of the Rite: two guitars, bass, drums. It was really good! I think it was originally commissioned by a dance company. I saw them do it live and at the end some guy in the audience screamed "PLAY MORE METAL!".
posted by kenko at 1:10 PM on March 17, 2014

Huh, they still exist, apparently!
posted by kenko at 1:10 PM on March 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Butcher shop samples.
posted by kenko at 1:13 PM on March 17, 2014

This was fantastic. I've been a big BP fan for years. At the end of this recording, my head said, "More." I couldn't decide if I wanted more BP, or more ROS, so I just played the recording again.

If I had money (I don't), I would actually buy this CD.
posted by charlesminus at 1:24 PM on March 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I like their no vocals cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit (album or more free form).
posted by cult_url_bias at 8:12 PM on March 17, 2014

Nothing is EVER "improved upon" when you diddle with this masterpiece.

Stravinsky himself may have disagreed. He issued several revisions of the score, including both corrections and the recomposition of several sections, the latest of which have been mostly ignored though that is what he conducted on the 1960 recording.

And he wasn't against reductions in principal as the first edition of the piece that was published was for two pianos (opens in Spotify).

Though, yes, various jazz and rock bands adapting the score is different. And personally I'm happy that this means more people will hear the music, thrilled that many will seek out an orchestral version, live concert performance and even a ballet performance... but I'm happy with engagement at any level including folks who only know it in the context of lumbering dinosaurs.

I have not had a chance to listen to this version by the Bad Plus but it is going in the queue; they're not quite my taste but their adaptations are usually quite good and I'm glad their version of this is being released.
posted by mountmccabe at 5:43 AM on March 18, 2014

« Older Only drank two coffees today... Level Up!   |   So much left to EXPLOOOORE! Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments