Five years after IV, BadBadNotGood (or BBNG) emerge from their recording silence with Talk Memory, their new album, which is less electro, more dense and more acoustic than usual. It's a record that embraces pure improvisation and sounds like a return to their roots, those of their most visceral jazz beginnings...
For this fifth album, Leland Whitty (sax, flute, guitar, bass, piano, synth), Chester Hansen (bass, guitar, piano, organ, synth) and Al Sow (drums and percussion) invited the likes of Laraaji, Karriem Riggins, Terrace Martin, Brandee Younger and the great Brazilian composer Arthur Verocai (who did the string arrangements). After parting ways with Matthew Tavares, keyboardist and co-founder of the band, in 2019, the Canadian band seems to have wanted to narrow their stylistic scope (there are no hip-hop artist features this time around) but not their musical ambition.
From the opening track, Signal From the Noise, you can sense their intentions: in 9 minutes, they roll out a carpet of pure fusion-jazz that flirts with psychedelia and progressive music. This track is a musical drift co-produced by electronic wizard Sam Shepherd - aka Floating Points. But Talk Memory features many other equally colourful but more voluptuous soundscapes, such as City of Mirrors, Love Proceeding and Beside April, accompanied by violins arranged by Verocai.
The Badbadnotgood team have become one and move forward as a single entity, to best execute their melodies and to narrow the focus of their improvisations. With these 42 minutes of jazz, animated by an astounding energy, the trio has managed to project itself into the future without forgetting the ideas that gave birth to the band in Toronto in 2010. Ultimately, it is clear the band haven't forgot where they came from, yet always seem to have one eye on the future.