The Bad Plus: Smells Like Teen Spirit


Smells Like Teen Spirit


The Bad Plus


These Are the Vistas (Columbia CK 87040)

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Ethan Iverson (piano), Reid Anderson (bass), David King (drums).

Composed by Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl


Recorded: Wiltshire, England, September 30-October 5, 2002


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

The Bad Plus has not exactly lived up to the hype of being the Band That Will Save Jazz, but these guys have showed us that it’s OK to make jazz out of songs that aren’t 80 years old. Take “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” a four-chord rock anthem if ever there was one. Pianist Ethan Iverson claims never to have heard the Nirvana original before his bandmates brought him the charts. Hard to believe, given his spot-on statement of theme. Iverson’s mixed background of classical and jazz helped shape the trio’s sound, but drummer David King’s all-out attack defined it. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was the perfect storm for the Bad Plus’s audience – a rock-loud cover of a familiar tune. This wasn’t the most sophisticated performance, but it made it cool for twentysomethings to be seen in jazz clubs.

Reviewer: Steve Greenlee

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