Give is the second outing for The Bad Plus, a group that combines a lot of styles....not all of which are jazz. As a matter of fact, their drummer David King has been quoted as saying "...we never thought of ourselves as a jazz band...." Perhaps a more appropriate style description for this group would be "contemporary chamber music."
The group is very tightly knit, consider themselves good friends and are devoted to playing music together. All three members write original material and have contributed tracks to this CD. "1979 Semi-Finalist", which is a wonderfully melancholic comment, "Frog and Toad" and "Layin' A Strip For The Higher-Self State Line" were written by drummer David King. "And Here We Test Our Powers of Observation", "Dirty Blonde" and "Neptune (The Planet)" were all written by bassist Reid Anderson. And pianist Ethan Iverson is responsible for "Cheney Pinata" and "Do Your Sums--Die Like A Dog--Play For Home". The rest of the tracks are covers by The Pixies ("Velouria"), Ornette Coleman ("Street Woman") and Black Sabbath ("Iron Man").
The group has approached each of the tracks differently so there is no overall style, but a sense of enjoyment permeates the entire CD. "Layin' A Strip For The Higher-Self State Line" has a humorous feel from the boogie-woogie era that swings. "Iron Man" features Ethan Iverson with his left hand playing a de-tuned upright piano and his right hand playing a Steinway. It makes for an interesting sound.
Take each track separately. There's something for everyone in this CD. Most of all, there's three guys having a lot of fun playing all the different kinds of music they want.