Sounds like: Classically trained piano meets indie-rock drums meets jazz bass.
For fans of: Blondie, Igor Stravinsky, Paul Motian, Flaming Lips, Abba, Joshua Redman, Nirvana, Neil Young, Ornette Coleman, the Pixies, Bill Frisell, David Bowie, Herb Alpert, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Heart—the Plus have covered or worked with all of them.
Latest release: Made Possible, the band's eighth studio album, continues its recent emphasis on original music, adding for the first time occasional tasteful touches of electronic instrumentation.
Why you care: By using contemporary and classic rock and pop tunes and ideas as vehicles for imaginative improvisation, pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King are helping to save jazz from its self-inflicted cultural marginalization. In truth, they're not doing anything different from what the great jazz originals of the 1920s through the '50s did—embracing the popular music of their time, spiced with classical and avant-jazz influences. But after decades of the genre's most strident adherents either endlessly repeating the same old pre-rock standards or dabbling in often-abrasive experimentation that seemingly ignores everything that's happened in popular culture, it's refreshing to hear ear-friendly yet venturesome jazz that connects to the rest of America's rich musical culture.
SEE IT: The Bad Plus plays Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan St., on Sunday, April 28. 3 and 7 pm. $20 advance, $25 day of show. Under 21 permitted with guardian.