This review of TATV which will soon go in the Maine Jazz Alliance "UpBeat". Comments? Catcalls? C'mon, carry on! One View: These Are The Vistas, The Bad Plus Columbia CK 87040 (2003) Here comes the Big New Thing In Jazz. JazzTimes proclaims that These Are The Vistas is one of the most important jazz albums to appear in more than a decade. The buzz which the band neither completely buys nor utterly disclaims goes like this: These guys are young, white and look artsy. Theyre not all from New York (which is big news in New York). They know jazz. They play famous rock tunes in an acoustic piano-trio format. And Columbia, the label that brought you Miles, Monk, Mahavishnu and Marsalis, anointed the gents with a contract. So if you want to see where the Washington Post says jazz is headed next, watch the vistas. The opening cut, bassist Reid Andersons Big Eater, tells much about the records high- and low-points. The song begins with the sound of drummer Dave King bashing a latin-esque beat on a drum-kit augmented by something which sounds suspiciously like a kitchen-pan. Anderson and pianist Ethan Iverson roll in, whamming a motif of parallel fifths moving in minor thirds in 7/4. It sounds very big. Its quite challenging. While we wait for the melody, Iverson takes a chorus, with grace and some delicacy. Then the power-motif returns to close the tune, as we continue to wait . . . but no. Both Big Eater and the albums bookend, Andersons Silence Is The Question, lack a tune. In contrast, Kings Keep The Bugs Off Your Glass, is the very essence of ditty four chords; two-beat. I struggle to avoid the mean thought: If this is the future of the acoustic piano trio, invest in Floyd Kramer and sell Cecil Taylor short. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Anderson flies in an unaccompanied homage to Charlie Haden and Dave Holland. Bugs also highlights another important component of the bands viewpoint, as King drops below loud for a while. The lower half of Kings dynamic range on this disc often comes by studio faders rather than actual quietude. Much is made of The Bad Plus deconstruction of pop tunes (though thats not news, given that jazzy bands have been playing Nirvana tunes for more than a decade). I particularly enjoy the 7/4 disco-beat on Blondies Heart of Glass pop producer Tchad Blake nails the sound, and King is like a rock. Much of Iversons playing on the record reflects a classicists refined and varied approach to piano tone, and the tune certainly does not suffer from his treatment. The versions of Aphex Twins Flim and Nirvanas Smells Like Teen Spirit are less successful as jazz ventures, primarily because there is not much jazz to speak of. Smells Like Teen Spirit contains a mere ninety seconds of jazzy piano soloing (over rock drums). The good news is this: These Are The Vistas is a good record, and there are moments of good jazz on it. The Bad Plus are fine players and decent composers. They definitely have fun playing, and fun is an attitude too rare in jazz. The disc sounds great, courtesy of Columbias rockin studio budget. I look forward to the bands upcoming Portland appearance. But These Are The Vistas has a major problem from a jazz viewpoint: It is not a jazz record, and it is being sold not only as a jazz record, but as the embodiment of the future of the music. The past decade has given the jazz world such masterworks as Dave Hollands Not For Nothing, Michael Breckers Time is of the Essence and Branford Marsalis Footprints of Our Forefathers to name only a few. These artists and so many others cast visions in which the path blazed by Blakey, Davis, Rollins, Coltrane and Mingus leads to a lively city. These Are The Vistas aims toward the suburbs, where jazz is a point of reference rather than a destination. Ultimately, These Are The Vistas is appropriately named. The album is like a road overlooking the Jazz River: It offers a fine view, but moves past the deep water all too quickly.