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The Bad Plus 

When: Fri., April 13, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., April 14, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., April 15, 6 & 8 p.m. 2012
Price: $15, $20

Doing a trio version of a pop song has become standard practice in the jazz world, and, with groups like Robert Glasper Experiment putting their own spin on Nirvana or Floetry, it's certainly not outré to hear a group like The Bad Plus tackle David Bowie or Tears for Fears. That said, this New York outfit takes an unorthodox and weirdly reverent approach to its deconstruction and reinterpretation of familiar tunes. Pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer David King understand that pop offers certain pleasures -- cloying sentiment, earwormy melody, ample harmonies, and a slick finish -- that are all worth retaining, even in an avant-garde format. Thus, their take on "Smells Like Teen Spirit," while syncopated and dissonant, is every bit as catchy as the original. Same goes for their slow, balletic rendition of Radiohead's "Karma Police." Here's a group that could easily build its career reinventing Cole Porter; instead, it's done something both more accessible, and more imaginative. The Bad Plus will appear at Yoshi's (510 Embarcadero, Oakland) Friday & Saturday, Apr. 13-14, at 8 & 10 p.m., and Sunday, Apr. 15, at 6 & 8 p.m. $15-$20. Yoshis.com

— Will Butler

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