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by Tiana Feng


Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Label: Pirates Blend / Innovative Leisure

III marks BADBADNOTGOOD’s first label-backed album. They signed to the Arts & Crafts supported Pirates Blend and Los Angeles’ Innovative Leisure. Ever since I checked out II, which got me excited about jazz in this century for the first time, I’ve been impressed by the young trios ability to deliver this genre to the masses.

In their live shows, they often do creative cover songs that are buzzing but the record remains original. The trio of Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, and Alexander Sowinski on drums were students in the Humber College jazz program until they decided to drop out together. And I guess it worked out for them.  From the getgo they take every opportunity to show off their playing skills.  “Triangle” opens up with a funky hooks and an impressive keyboard solo from Tavares.

They stuck “Can’t Leave The Night”, which I have subsequently played 100 times already, second. It’s the album’s most exciting, mixing modern EDM elements with live instruments in a track fit for a club. Later, “Since You Ask Kindly” also has a dance vibe, but a very different one, in the sense that it is bright and sparkly. Their ability to build on simple motifs is amazing. On “Confessions” they are joined by saxophonist Leland Whitty, a friend they also used on BBNG2 who gives a mind-melting sax solo. Even with the ability to hire studio musicians, BBNG sticks to keeping the average age of the person working on the album relatively low.

They’ve definitely grown up though. III has the flow that BBNG2 was missing and it’s more focused. The band has realized what they want to sound like and leave plenty of room for experimentation (“Kaleidoscope”). III  was recorded entirely in their home studio, and I assume live off the floor as there is great chemistry throughout between all the players. They show profound restraint on “Eyes Closed”, to allow for Hansen to show off a double bass solo. “Differently, Still” sounds like a jazz classic done by people twice their age. “CS60” gives us more of the modern R&B references and deep beats that “Can’t Leave the Night” teased. It has a mysterious atmosphere created by the lush instrumentation, though it doesn’t look to have any other contributors. The album ends on the 6 and a half minute epic “Sustain” which ends the album after a cymbal crash and the dissipating of a sustained note. From beginning to end BBNG immerses us into a genre that for the most part isn’t as popular, but keeps you engaged. III  will inspire young jamming friends to think beyond the confines of rock n’ roll into new territory.