Album Review – Bad Bad Not Good – IV

Toronto based experimental Jazz outfit, Bad Bad Not Good are back with their fourth album, titled “IV”. The team of Matt Tavares (keyboard) Chester Hansen (bass) Alex Sowinski (drums) and new addition Leland Whitty(saxophone) who featured on Confessions on “III” make one blissful record. The follow up to their previous album “III” and their next work after their little experiment with rapper Ghostface Killah called “Sour Soul” which was an absolute banger. I was eagerly awaiting this album. What a year for albums it’s been!

“IV” brings new light to the world of experimental jazz. I wonder if these guys are lab rats cooking up these melodic, diabolical tunes in their basement or studio or whatever. Of course surely along with plans to take over the world…. with their music.

That’s the vibe you get anyway. BBNG’s music make you feel powerful and eclectic. It’s another level, really. The tunes get you in the mood for world domination, I’m not even fucking kidding. How do they do that? Damn, it’s so pleasing to hear.

Technically gifted and unique in their own right. BBNG have carved out their own place and identity in the world of experimental jazz. Snarky Puppy and BBNG are the pioneers of new age jazz music. Of course Snarky Puppy have a fucking army of musicians but this quartet give them a good run for their money.

I thought they couldn’t out-do “III” which is their best work. But “IV” comes a close second. This time with a lot of vocals and featuring a lot of jazz musicians, this one is a progressively built up masterpiece. The vocals amalgamate perfectly with their heavenly cuts. With some good old school jazz influences and some major hip-hop influences courtesy Kaytranada this one is a modern day jazz marvel of sounds and they have become even more jazz-centric on this.

As usual, let’s break down the tracks…

1. And That, Too

Nice intro to start. The piano and synth combine well. The sax kicks in later. But the piano tune gets a bit repetitive and there is no beat which makes it slightly dull.

Rating – 6/10

2. Speaking Gently

Ta Na Na Da. This one is a sick track. Sowinski enters heavy and viola classic BBNG – sounding their return to the scene. The mellow yet uplifting darkish synth piano goes really well. Really a kick ass instrumental piece.

Rating – 8 / 10

3. Time Moves Slow (feat. Sam Herring)
This one is a new age love song for the ages. The vocals by Sam Herring are perfect and the lyrics get stuck in your head ” Running away is easy, it’s the living that’s hard”. Sowinski gives a standard not too tricky typical BBNG beat, Hansen’s bass line is a nice tune while Tavares background keyboard along with some guitar flicks by I don’t know who makes this a nice one.

Rating – 7/10

4. Confessions Pt II (feat. Colin Stetson)
Cue the saxophones! The sax intro is great and this one is a head nodder for sure. Prepare for some head nodding scenes. Not better than the Confessions pt I of course but a really good follow up. Sax heavy and Hansens bass induced, this one is a culmation of outstanding jazz technicality. It becomes a progressive number towards the end.

Rating 7.5/10

5. Lavender (feat. Kaytranada)
Hip-hop influenced. Kaytranada makes this one a sick production. Synth heavy and with some interesting effects. For those late night drives under the city lights. A very interesting sound on this one. Sowinski’s beat is nice and hip-hop styled, while the synths get you giddy.

Rating – 8/10

6.  Chompy’s Paradise

A slower number. I love the name. This one is enigmatic. It gives you that slow chill vibe.
Whitty kills it on the sax. The sax tune in particular is really sick. It’s got some pink-floydish, interesting sounds in the middle. Which make it an even more compelling listen. The sax tune is still stuck in my head. Nice track. One of the best on the album. Addictive.

Rating – 9/10

7. IV
The title track is a major experiment. It’s a little twisted jazz experiment. They fuck around and make it sound great. It builds up, slows down and just leaves your mind in a daze. The whole band are in the fucking groove on this. That sax outro… man

Rating – 8/10

8.  Hyssop of Love (feat. Mick Jenkins)

BBNG’s music goes great to rap to. Their “Sour Soul” project was hardcore straight up dope. This one is a fucking sick orchestral rap. Mick Jenkins verses are tight and Sowinski’s drumming is on point. This is one of the best tracks on the album.

Rating – 9/10

9.  Structure No. 3

Love the dark-ish intro although it lightens up later. Goes nice and slow. Tavares’ keyboard makes a different sounding but catchy tune while Hansen’s bass solo is him just fucking around I think. This track is decent and mellow. While it gets off beat towards the end. Lab rats I tell you.

Rating – 7/10

10.  In Your Eyes (feat. Charlotte Day Wilson)

Catchy tune to begin. Very catchy in fact as it progresses. Charlotte Day Wilson’s voice is beautiful and touches your soul. The rising crescendo’s are top notch. I love this one, another great track on the album. ” I see it in your eyes, in your eyes, every time”

Rating – 9/10

11.  Cashmere

Jazzy. Very jazzy. Some intricate work on the keyboard by Tavares. This one is a drifter for those end of the day reveries. Off beat light jazz drumming. This one is a keyboard masterpiece. While the sax and trumpets kick in late. Nice track to end this awesome album.

Rating – 8/10

This one is not bad at all. Again like I said, it’s not better than “III” but it surely is better than their previous work. Their second best album. Bad Bad Not Good stir your soul and leave you hanging for more with this epic experiment. I wish it was longer and had more tracks. Not quite world dominating as yet but they’re certainly getting there.

Not many people get experimental jazz, but that’s the beauty of it. Technically astounding, Bad Bad Not Good are back with a classic!

Pour yourself some scotch and smoke some cigars to this. Their music is strictly for the bosses. Classy and chilled.

Overall Rating – 8/10

#BBNG #IV #Classy #Boss


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