Wedged in between appearances at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival backing Odd Future’s Frank Ocean, the Canadian piano trio BadBadNotGood comes to the Mint on Tuesday with a small storm of controversy in its wake after a rather mouthy turn in a Toronto magazine recently.
Scoffing at, among other things, jazz education, tradition and Robert Glasper (who in the group’s view doesn’t go far enough in mixing hip-hop and jazz), BadBadNotGood has the brashness that befits a young trio, whose oldest member at 21 is keyboardist Matt Tavarez.
As a result BadBadNotGood briefly became a hotly debated topic in the jazz blogosphere this month, and the Ottawa Citizen’s excellent Peter Hum wrote a detailed response to the group’s music and antics that further fueled the discussion.
Well, at least they’re talking about you, right? But what about the music? The group became something of a viral phenomenon for a YouTube clip endorsed by Odd Future’s Tyler the Creator that showed the trio covering the L.A. hip-hop group -- no strangers to provocation in their own right -- and a new album is now available for download on the group’s website with covers of My Bloody Valentine, Feist and Kanye West.
While BadBadNotGood’s ambitions come across clearer on album than their YouTube clips (I’m in agreement with Hum on some of the finer points of these performances, which at their best indicate a group with potential), one can at least appreciate the still-developing trio for what they could inspire their young fans to hear next.
If you’re part of Odd Future’s young army of fans and head to the Mint for this show, odds are you will see some instrumental fireworks and invention unlike anything you’ve seen. But just wait until you hear the Bad Plus, Jason Moran, Vijay Iyer and Robert Glasper, and those are just a few off the top of my head with albums from recent years. Listen to where knowledge and extension of the jazz tradition can take you, because odds are BadBadNotGood will also find out soon enough if they want to go much further.