BadBadNotGood: the kids are alright (and jazz isn't dead)
August 8, 2015 2:12 PM   Subscribe

Back in December 2011, three kids (none over 21) who were studying jazz bonded over their love of hip-hop, performed a live cover of Gucci Mane's "Lemonade". It was noisy and jammy, but jazzy, and the crowd loved it. The trio followed up with a live video titled The Odd Future Sessions Part 1, which got love and support from Tyler, The Creator. BadBadNotGood (BBNG) took off from there, and are still going ....

The trio, Matt Tavares, Alex Sowinski and Chester Hansen, bonded over a dislike for traditional jazz in preference for Bill Evans, Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis. And of course hip-hop, especially modern styles that muck around with stutter beats and other off-kilter sounds. They played together some, and a friend threw out a name that stuck. They didn't plan on being a band, but they worked together well and people liked what they did, so they kept at it.

They followed up the OF Sessions Part 1 with Pt. 2 - Goblin, which morphed into the first track for their first EP/mixtape of sorts (archive of Bandcamp release page; tracks on YouTube: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). From there they released their self-titled debut album.
Comprised almost entirely of covers, BBNG isn’t so much an original piece of work as it is an artist’s rendition of classics. Featuring completely redone hits from the likes of Gang Starr, Nas and Joy Division to name a few, BADBADNOTGOOD take a very risky step at faithfully maintaining the soul of the original, while injecting their own flavor and sound into the track.
They also released a live album (Bandcamp), then freestyled with Tyler, The Creator to make a video in one take (NSFW lyrics, natch). Back in the world of jazz, they opened for Roy Ayers in Toronto, and OF Pt 2 impressed Giles Peterson enough he invited them to play at his annual awards show, and dropped a second live album. They churned out their second album over the course of 10 hours. Half inventive covers and half original productions, they also ventured into some hazier territory, likened to Portishead and Burial.

BBNG were the band-in-residence at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and backed Frank Ocean (of Odd Future) both weekends.

2013 was a lot of touring as seen from their tumblr account, and they released a single from their next album, III (including Japanese bonus track), which came out in 2014. This was their first album without covers, and was widely supported, though it seems the lack of covers (and with it, reinterpretations of known songs) might have thrown some for a loop.

In 2015, they backed Ghostface Killa on the album Sour Soul, where BBNG were on point but Ghost was found lacking. But if you want more Ghost x BBNG, here's their live set from SxSW 2015.

You want more live music? OK - BBNG live on Boiler Room, 2014 / live with Leland Whitty at The Casbah in Ontario / live at Pukkelpop, 2013.

If you wanted more hip-hop, here are past productions by BBNG:
posted by filthy light thief (8 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
The prior (and only?) BBNG post was back in 2011, when they first got noticed for covering OFWGKTA beats. They've done a bunch since then, and I've been kind of obsessed with their third album, so here we are.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:14 PM on August 8, 2015

CanCon FTW!
posted by Kitteh at 2:51 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Love this band. Thanks for the great FPP; I'm sure to find parts of their discography etc. that I've missed.
posted by Gymnopedist at 4:22 PM on August 8, 2015

Excellent post. I'm a big BBNG fan, and this still had some treats for me. I second your love of III, which is full of stunners (particularly 'Confessions'). Still waiting for a proper recording of their cover of Flying Lotus's 'Putty Boy Strut'
posted by AAALASTAIR at 4:52 PM on August 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

III is perhaps my favourite album of 2014. Many listens in the 0bvious household. Great post!
posted by 0bvious at 5:22 PM on August 8, 2015

Sour Soul is excellent. Easily top 3 of things Ghostface has done this year.

(36 seasons and his action bronson diss are the other two).
posted by lkc at 8:34 PM on August 8, 2015

Last summer I saw both BBNG and A Tribe Called Red for the first time at the same show. Good times. The bass on Can't Leave the Night gets rib-shaking deep when they play it live
posted by thecjm at 9:57 PM on August 8, 2015

I went to a BBNG show in Chicago recently. The crowd at that show was ominous - interspersed in the jazz/hip hop fans were lots and lots of angry bros. There was no dancing, and the crowd even got ostensibly violent (at one point 4 bros started attacking some kid for wearing a bucket hat.) This definitely could have been because it was related to lollapalooza, or the venue, which occasionally has this kind of crowd, but it seemed like the bros were treating them like a hip-hop influenced jam band or some altogether new iteration of drunken co-opting.

It was really sad, since the members of BBNG were actually really nice and well-spoken.
posted by womandad at 2:06 PM on August 10, 2015

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