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BadBadNotGood has been good good not bad, not bad at all

From The Ottawa Citizen:

The past year for BadBadNotGood has been good good not bad, not bad at all.

The jazz trio, with 19-year-old Ottawa native Chester Hansen on bass, has recorded with one of the biggest (and most contentious) figures in hip hop, and has more recently been feted on the stages and airwaves of Britain.

It all started a couple of years ago, when Hansen was at Canterbury High School in Ottawa.

“All my buddies started sort of getting into jazz later into high school,” Hansen, who grew up in Nepean, says in a phone interview from Toronto. “We started trying to play the stuff and then decided some of us wanted to go to school for it.”

He went to Humber College where, two years later and still only 19, he’s in Bad-BadNotGood with classmates Alex Sowinski (drums) and Matt Tavares (piano). The jazz trio is indelibly marked by its curiosity and experimentalism. They’ve performed and recorded covers of contemporary hip hop songs, and recently even starred in a live tribute in Toronto to J Dilla, the influential and prolific American hip hop producer and musician who died recently. Videos of their performance show the club crowd literally hopping to the music and giving BBNG a loud ovation.

The trio has also recorded with Tyler the Creator, the best-known and notorious young member of the gritty hip hop crew Odd Future – and, at this point, one of the hottest things in hip hop on both sides of the Atlantic. Most recently, they’ve been celebrated on air by a well-known DJ on BBC Radio, who flew them to London to perform in his annual showcase of new music. “It was pretty cool,” Hansen says.

So what does BadBadNotGood sound like? When I load their first CD, BBNG1, into iTunes, the genre comes up as “hip hop/jazz.” The description isn’t wrong, but you can’t squeeze Bad-BadNotGood into three words. To me they rather sound like Brad Mehldau, the brilliant, young jazz pianist who dips his hand into an omnivorous array of genres, and they sound like Radiohead, with its languid and atmospheric pace

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