It's Hard

It's Hard

by The Bad PlusThe Bad Plus


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


For longtime fans of genre-bending jazz piano trio the Bad Plus, 2016's It's Hard will feel pleasantly familiar. Once again showcasing the talents of pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer David King, It's Hard finds the Bad Plus reworking a set of well-curated pop covers. In that sense, the album fits nicely next to the group's previous covers albums, all of which helped build their reputation as a maverick, forward-thinking outfit unafraid to recontextualize both modern pop songs and traditional acoustic jazz. Particularly effective here is the trio's languid, impressionistic take on Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over." Played as a slow, yearning ballad, it brings to mind Keith Jarrett's fractured, atmospheric flow. Elsewhere, they imbue Peter Gabriel's "Games Without Frontiers" with Thelonious Monk-like dissonance, and dive headlong into Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Maps," transforming the indie rock anthem into a tumbling avant-garde, Broadway musical-esque theme. The one shift this time out is the inclusion of two jazz cover songs in saxophonist Bill McHenry's "Alfombra Magica" and the late Ornette Coleman's "Broken Shadows." While those two choices sound of a piece with the rest of the performances on It's Hard, they stand out for their specific, avant-garde jazz origins and work in contrast to the rest of the more contemporary pop choices. It's as if the Bad Plus are demonstrating their longstanding belief that all good music can be interpreted in a jazz style, whether it's Prince's "The Beautiful Ones," Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," or Kraftwerk's "The Robots," all of which are elegantly tackled here. Ultimately with It's Hard, the Bad Plus continue to make the process of transforming modern pop songs into jazz standards sound both deceptively easy and endlessly enjoyable.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/26/2016
Label: Masterworks
UPC: 0889853371426
catalogNumber: 33714

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bad Plus   Primary Artist
Ethan Iverson   Piano
Reid Anderson   Double Bass
David King   Drums

Technical Credits

Johnny Cash   Composer
Peter Gabriel   Composer
Cyndi Lauper   Composer
Richard Kerr   Composer
Karl Bartos   Composer
Ornette Coleman   Composer
Scott English   Composer
Neil Finn   Composer
Ralf Hütter   Composer
Rob Hyman   Composer
Florian Schneider   Composer
Darryl Pitt   Executive Producer
Bill McHenry   Composer
Chuck Mitchell   Executive Producer
Bad Plus   Arranger,Producer
Brian Chase   Composer
David Andrew Sitek   Composer
Tunde Adebimpe   Composer
Nick Zinner   Composer
Pete Rende   Engineer
Karen Lee Orzolek   Composer

Customer Reviews