Down a cofounder, fearless fusion quartet BadBadNotGood close 2019 in Chicago with lineup 2.0 | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Down a cofounder, fearless fusion quartet BadBadNotGood close 2019 in Chicago with lineup 2.0 

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Warren Katz

Over the past decade, Toronto instrumental quartet BadBadNotGood have evolved into convincing musical chameleons. Shifting through postbop, funk, rock, jazz fusion, and soulful hip-hop, the four-piece group employ a timbral palette as diverse as their influences, accenting their retro jazz-rock setup with keys, synths, a digital sampler, and a bevy of guest vocalists. Similar to contemporaries the Bad Plus, BadBadNotGood rose to popularity in part thanks to deconstructed covers of famous hip-hop and pop-rock artists. They’ve also become in-demand collaborators: they’ve made an entire album with Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ghostface Killah, 2015’s Sour Soul (Lex), and they’ve racked up production credits for the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Freddie Gibbs, Danny Brown, Little Dragon, Kaytranada, and Earl Sweatshirt. Now, three years since the release of their fifth studio LP, IV (Innovative Leisure), BadBadNotGood have begun a new chapter without cofounder and keyboardist Matt Tavares, who left the group after making his psychedelic, soft-rock debut as Matty in 2018. With their latest single, a cover of “Key to Love (Is Understanding)” by 80s Milwaukee soul group the Majestics, BBNG make a return to reinterpretation. A soulful, psych-tinged ballad that features neosoul artist Jonah Yano on vocals, the track introduces a brand-new interlude whose sax, classical guitar, and flute give it a jazzy coloration. Fans of fearless genre hopping with an old-school edge could find worse ways to close out 2019 than at these two Lincoln Hall shows.   v

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