Piano trios! Gosh, it's hard to avoid them these days. Every pianist, double bass player and drummer in the world seems to have got together in an attempt to find popular success.
I blame the Esbjorn Svensson Trio for what's turning into a three-way plague. And I blame The Bad Plus, too.
While EST would probably shrug off the accusation with a cool Swedish shrug, I suspect the sons of the Midwest, The Bad Plus, would meet it with a raised and rather rude finger.
You see, they have a certain rock 'n' roll attitude that extends beyond their reworkings of Queen, Nirvana and Black Sabbath.
If they were just rock attitude layered over an average jazz thing, there would be no point in singing their praises. But the image is absolutely consistent with the music, which is visceral and thoroughly thought through in equal measure.
They are also one of those bands where the musical characters of the individual members adds up to even more than their considerable parts.
Pianist Ethan Iverson has a way with a melody and its harmonic hinterland that is all his own and feeds as much off Charles Ives or Stravinsky as it does off McCoy Tyner or Cecil Taylor.
He also has an affection for the overblown heavy rock power chord which he transfers from massed electric guitars to the grand piano with tongue ever so gently placed in cheek.
Drummer David King mixes a thrash sensibility - from a whisper to a scream in a millionth of a second - with a good old-fashioned jazz ability to swing.
Between them, the middleman in every sense, is bassist Reid Anderson, lithe and interesting at all times, an ideal modern bassist both in sound and style, and a much more crucial element in this band than his quieter onstage presence would suggest.
The Bad Plus are now in the early stages of their third European tour and Birmingham is privileged indeed to have the opportunity to hear the band not in a large concert hall - they're playing Carnegie Hall next month! - but in an excellent small club atmosphere, the sort of room that their music is made for.
The Bad Plus are at the Glee Club on Sunday, courtesy of Birmingham Jazz. More info on www.birminghamjazz.co.uk and tickets on glee.co.uk or by calling 0870 241 5093. Miss it at your peril.
Other gigs of note this week:
Tomorrow: The Hub, a New York trio fresh from the Brooklyn under-ground scene and the famous Knitting Factory club, play Jazz Club at The Rainbow in Digbeth. It's £2 to get in and there's more on 0121 772 8174. Quite a coup for the Rainbow, I'd say, and further proof that Birmingham is shaping up to be England's jazz heart.
Friday: Rush Hour Blues at Symphony Hall Bar from 5.30pm features Mike Porter's Next Level. It's free.
Saturday: Pianist Liam Noble with Dave Whitford on bass and Dave Wickens on drums, dedicate themselves to the music of Dave Brubeck at the Warwick Arts Centre at 8pm. Tickets are £10.
More from Coventry Jazz on www.jazzcov.co.uk Tuesday: Birmingham alto saxophonist Mike Fletcher leads his band at the Jam House in St Paul's Square. It starts around 9.30pm and it's also free.
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