BADBADNOTGOOD: A Moody Jazz-Hop Think Piece

Written by Anthony Fantano from National Public Radio

A Toronto-based jazz trio whose approach to the genre has angered aficionados and grabbed the attention of young fans, BADBADNOTGOOD carries on jazz’s rich tradition of reinvention and provocation. Its two full-length albums cover material that’s of interest to your average oddball twentysomething: experimental rock, video-game soundtracks and electronic music, among others.

Still, BADBADNOTGOOD’s true passion lies in hip-hop: The band’s latest album, BBNG2, features songs originally written by Kanye West and Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt, among others. Obviously, this isn’t the first time a modern jazz artist has paid homage to rap music. Robert Glasper does it quite often, but BADBADNOTGOOD’s approach is much less refined — and intentionally so, with a brash attitude and youthful energy winning out over technique.

“UWM,” featuring saxophonist Leland Whitty, is one of the few originals on BBNG2, and the sounds of hip-hop come through in Alexander Sowinski’s drums. The improvisational sax and electric piano keep the sound rooted in a jazzy foundation and intertwine impressively, as “UWM” grows into a moody jazz-hop think piece.

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