Release Date: May 6, 2014
Record label: Innovative Leisure
Genre(s): Electronic, Jazz, Pop/Rock, Club/Dance
Yes, Toronto's BADBADNOTGOOD are superficially a jazz trio. Yet there are layers to the group once known as the Odd Trio, which broke out in 2011 with post-bop covers of Odd Future. Over the course of two albums (discounting singles and live records), pianist Matthew Tavares, bassist Chester Hansen and drummer Alex Sowinski have crafted a unique sound from a mutual love of electronica, jazz and hip-hop both old and new.
Technically, III is Toronto hip-hop jazz trio BADBADNOTGOOD's third album, but it's their first that's been offered for sale rather than simply posted for free on the internet. Their earlier releases were both strong, but they seem like playful experiments compared to III's self-assurance. Resisting the temptation to make their commercial debut too pristine, they recorded instead to reel-to-reel tape, keeping that raw, live feel that initially garnered them so much attention.
Recently, a friend of mine who moved to Germany gave me a whole bunch of jazz and classical vinyl LPs and CDs. Rather than ship them to Germany, or put them into storage, she wanted them to be played and enjoyed, so she gave them to me. I got my hands on a ton of classic jazz from Dave Brubeck, Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington and more.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. I'm not an expert when it comes to jazz, and I won't pretend to be either. Having said that, BADBADNOTGOOD managed to catch my attention in 2011 with their contemporary jazz renditions of popular hip-hop tracks - specifically Odd Future - who at the time, were everywhere. The mixtape, BBNG, also featured works from Nas and A Tribe Called Quest.
Hip-hop’s links with jazz reach back to Gil Scott-Heron and The Last Poets, but does jazz love hip-hop back? Badbadnotgood certainly do: the instrumental trio scored work with Frank Ocean, Tyler, The Creator and RZA after their Odd Future cover during a performance exam at jazz college failed to wow the assembled panel of judges but succeeded in wowing the internet. Sounds like the plot to every bad ‘street dancing’ film ever, but new album ‘III’ is a fluid, inventive affair. Shades of post-rock make the whole feel oddly conservative in parts, but ‘Can’t Leave The Night’ sounds like a trap DJ Shadow, and ‘Hedron’ boasts imagination to match the band’s spectacular musicianship.Alex Denney .
Three jazz students from Toronto were shot down by a panel of their instructors for their performance of Lemonade by Gucci Mane, but then earned the attention of Tyler, the Creator for their arrangements of Odd Future tracks. It sounds almost like the plot to a bad Teen Nick movie. But Badbadnotgood’s star-studded tale doesn’t end there. Tyler himself recorded a jam session with the band in their own basement, they backed Frank Ocean both weekends at Coachella 2012, and they helped out with the production of The Man With The Iron Fists.Up until now, the jazz-hop trio’s recorded body of work featured a few compositions and lots of updated arrangements of everything from Waka Flaka Flame to The Legend of Zelda soundtrack.