Dave King of The Bad PlusGreat musicians, regardless of style, should electrify and challenge. The Bad Plus’s Dave King achieves both goals on the trio’s fourth album, PROG. They create intricate improvisations from material as diverse as David Bowie’s “Life On Mars” and Rush’s “Tom Sawyer,” as well as their own gasoline-on-fire compositions.

King summons serendipity and incredibly smoking notes on the album’s opener, “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” delicately clicking and clacking one moment, roaring like a Terminator time tumbler the next. Prog rock this ain’t; progressive thinking it most certainly is.

“Some prog rock informs our music to where it can be theatrical and employ odd time signatures,” King explains. “But PROG is not about prog rock or prog jazz. It’s about a progressive attitude, meaning anything can happen. It doesn’t mean it’s great or inventive, just that we’re trying to do things that haven’t been done before.

“There’s a lot of intense math and emotion involved,” the drummer continues. “I bring everything I feel to the music; I’m not trying to make it rational and pretty. The death knell of all art is when people get comfortable. A lot of drummers have their riffs, they don’t take chances, and they don’t play dramatically. You have to pull yourself out of your comfort zone to try something new.”

King can also be heard on Happy Apple’s Back On Top, The Gang Font featuring Interloper, Halloween Alaska’s Champagne Downtown, Mason Jennings’ Boneclouds, Meat Beat Manifesto’s At The Center, Haley Bonar’s Lure The Fox, and Bill Carrothers’ Shine Ball.

Ken Micallef