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The Bad Plus – Cheltenham Jazz Festival REVIEW

The Bad Plus opened their set by immediately winning the audience over by saying “It’s an honour to be on the set of the ‘Great British Bakery Show’… “I hope it pastry week.”

The band visited the Cheltenham Jazz Festival for the first time after being on the road for 18 years as a trio of drums, piano and bass. Tricky to describe their music is

Syncopated melodies crescendoed as soft and free piano played over erratic drumming and grounding bass. They were clear and crisp yet also maintaining an element of spontaneity and freedom. 

All three were wonderfully in sync with each other which made for very pleasurable and relaxed listening. They are so much fun to watch as the three men are clearly enjoying themselves and their energy is infectious.


Their catchy riffs and recurring motifs kept our feet tapping and heads bobbing as well as tying all the pieces together neatly.

For me it was new member Orrin Evans who stood out on piano, my focus was often drawn to him. Reid Anderson on Bass and Dave King on drums were both strong. It seemed they chose their set whilst on stage, being able to tailor their music to how the audience respond.

This band play with such freedom and in a relaxed style but still manage to stay so sharp and slick. Simply a joy to watch and listen to.

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