BADBADNOTGOOD knows its name is a little strange. The jazz group's bassist, Chester Hansen, says it invites jokes from nearly everyone the band meets. "It's probably the most punned name I have ever heard," he says.
BADBADNOTGOOD also knows its songs sometimes sound more like hip-hop than jazz. But Matt Tavares, the group's keyboardist, says it makes sense for a band of young jazz players to interpret contemporary styles of music. "It's just fun," Tavares says. "We all listen to contemporary music – you know, 'cause we're contemporary people."
Formed in Toronto in 2010, BADBADNOTGOOD attracted an early following by taking a loose, free-jazz approach to covers of songs by hip-hop artists like Gucci Mane and Kanye West. "When you're improvising on something or trying to express yourself emotionally, to have any kind of connection with the music is nice," Tavares says.
Tavares says this approach stands in contrast to the time he spent with often-taught jazz standards in the jazz program at Toronto's Humber College. To him, at 19 years old, learning show tunes and American standards from the 1920s and '30s felt strange. "Some of the songs would be about like, not having a telephone or something, you know what I mean?" he says. "So it becomes hard to relate."
What Tavares and his bandmates could relate to was their mutual love of hip-hop, funk and Brazilian music. Tavares says BADBADNOTGOOD's first three albums reflect that mixed bag of inspiration, and it all comes together on the band's latest and most cohesive album, IV.
Hansen notes that even though BADBADNOTGOOD has finally found its sound, the band is still down to experiment. "I think we came about precisely from just goofing around and having fun," Hansen says. "And we're still just goofin'."
Hear more from Tavares and Hansen at the audio link.