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BADBADNOTGOOD-Talk Memory ALBUM REVIEW


Written Before Listen


BADBADNOTGOOD is a jazz fusion band that I know some things about but doesn’t know much about their music. All I know is that they’ve done unique covers of songs as well as their unique originals. I decided that I needed to listen to them, and luckily their new album gives me an excuse to. Let’s get into it.



Production

One thing that usually sticks with me with this record and fusion records, in general, is the massive sound it has. Whether the massive sound is ethereal or super grand, the production always kills it for me, especially on the drums and guitar. One thing that’s different about this record is that the strings and jazz instruments themselves are very vintage sounding. That is due to the guest composer that takes control of some of these songs.


Arthur Verocai


Arthur Verocai is a Brazilian conductor and songwriter who is pretty popular in the realm of Brazilian Pop Music. As a person that isn’t familiar with the genre that much, I do know that Arthur Verocai has been an influence on many. He contributes to 5 out of the 8 songs on this album. On “City Of Mirrors”, Verocai’s contribution does take a little too much out of BBNGs hands. I think the strings and the overall mixing of the record do sound straight out of the 70s. On “Beside April”, there is a lot more jazz-rock influence but the Verocai sound is still stuck there. This time in a better way. “Love Proceeding” is probably my favorite track that has Verocai. I just like how bouncy and fresh it sounds. We then wrap up the Verocai material with the outro and I will say, that it’s the jazziest but strongest out of the 4 collaborations. Verocai doesn’t oversaturate his sound but it does work well with BBNGs sound. With that being said, it’s good that they Brough Verocai in. They really did need that extra person.


Lineup Change


Starting as a trio. The band consisted of Chester Hansen on bass, Alex Sowinski on drums, and Matthew Tavares on keyboards. That unique combination made BBNG a unique band. In 2016, they added multi-instrumentalist Leland Whitey. With that being known, their keyboardist left the band. Unfortunately, I think that does bring them down a little bit. Hearing what they did on an album like ‘SOUR SOUL’, I know that keyboards were a pivotal role in their sound. With that gone, BBNG has yet to reach its second wind.


Influences


One thing about Jazz Fusion musicians, in general, is that they are very eclectic. They know their jazz, their rock, their r&B, their psychedelic music, and funk. With modern Jazz Fusion acts, they seem to take a lot from the fusion bands that set the scene. Artists like Mahavishnu Orchestra and Soft Machine come to mind during this album but no one is more prevalent than the alleged “creator” of the genre itself. Miles Davis…well rather him or Zappa. What I’m saying is that Miles Davis is a big inspiration for their sound. The blend of Jazz Fusion and Avant-Garde Jazz and more shifted toward the psychedelic fusion and less towards the chaotic fusion.


Cons


Alongside, the absence of Tavares, I think that BBNG really could be a bit more ambitious. With the music they’re creating, I think they are pretty safe. Is that a bad thing? Not entirely, I will conclude it by saying BBNG create one enjoyable and occasionally safe jazz fusion record.


Verdict


This in my opinion one of the strongest jazz fusion albums I’ve heard in a very long time. It might be a little safe, but better safe than sorry. BBNG also shows a little more technicality than usual as well, which is never a bad thing. Overall, really solid album.


7/10


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