A few weeks ago, traveling from the completely sold-out Cassandra Wilson gig at the Jazz Standard to the completely sold-out Bad Plus gig at the Village Vanguard, one could jump to the conclusion that jazz had, at long last, been blasted out of the doldrums. The winds blew emphatically from the audience, which seemed renovated and primed, aglow in anticipation and on its feet at the curtain, though some of us may need remedial repertory catch-up. Sonny Rollins plays "Sweet Leilani" because that's what he grew up with, which is the same reason Wilson sings "Lay Lady Lay" and the Bad Plus (or two-thirds of them) cover Blondie. It's a sign of prime-time preparedness that the Bad Plus's covers are rarely as good as their originals; indeed, the part of one's brain wired for cynicism might conclude that they choose cloying pop because their originals seem so much more compelling by comparison—whiskey to wipe away the taste of grenadine. That might explain why they call... More >>>