What: The Bad Plus

When: 8 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Jazz at the Oxford, The Oxford Hotel, 10 NW Minnesota Ave., Bend

Cost: $50 plus fees

Contact: jazzattheoxford.com or 541-382-8436

A lot has changed for The Bad Plus since 2008’s “For All I Care” — the band’s last album to prominently feature its deconstructions of modern pop and rock tunes.

Since then, the piano-bass-drums jazz trio has released four albums of all-original material, including 2015’s collaboration with saxophonist Joshua Redman, and tackled Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” both live and in studio. After these heavy projects, a palette cleanser was in order — hence “It’s Hard,” an album released in August featuring 11 reinvented songs by Johnny Cash, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, Ornette Coleman and Prince, among others.

The music world, and especially the jazz genre, has also evolved around the band in the interim. In the early 2000s, The Bad Plus’ versions of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or Aphex Twin’s “Film” often met with incredulity or downright hostility from audiences and critics. Now it’s far more common to hear modern jazz bands tackle pop songs.

“We’ve outlasted all of the naysayers, essentially, that were there in the early days, yet now it’s just completely normal for young jazz groups to be playing all this stuff,” drummer Dave King said from a recent tour stop in St. Louis before playing the second of a four-night stand. The trio has been on tour since early December, and will play three sets at Jazz at the Oxford at the Oxford Hotel this weekend.

“But meanwhile, we were roasted by some straight-ahead (jazz) critics, even though we had great support as well from straight-ahead critics or regular jazz critics or pop critics or whatever. The fact is, we kind of felt like, oh, maybe we’ll weigh back in on something we felt we were part of the pioneering of for our generation, as far as hijacking some tunes that you wouldn’t necessarily consider the normal, jazz, standard approach.”

After 17 years, The Bad Plus is still probably best known for these esoteric “covers” — though as King explained, that’s not the right word when talking about what the trio does to these songs. The band’s deconstructive approach is apparent in the stop-start shuffle on its version of Johnny Cash’s “Walk the Line,” or the equally complex rhythmic mutations on Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” both on “It’s Hard.”

“What we do is really much more a part of the jazz tradition, which is we reinterpret the music and improvise with it,” King said.

Another example: Kraftwerk’s “The Robots,” which morphed into a more straight-ahead jazz song with West African influences for “It’s Hard.”

“We do talk about the rhythms; we do talk about feels — the Kraftwerk tune, we were like, wouldn’t it be interesting to humanize the Kraftwerk piece and make it almost this 12/8, West African kind of feel that jazz musicians have used forever?” King said. “And so we turned it into this thing where instead of it being (hums original song’s beat), we turned it into something — because it’s got that pentatonic, melodic statement, it felt very much like we could also play it in a way that felt like an Ahmad Jamal exploration or a Muhal Richard Abrams exploration where you’ve got this beautiful, almost West African pentatonic melody that you could humanize so much and play that classic jazz 12/8 kind of feel next to it, and it transforms it from this very cold kind of nature of what it is.”

But The Bad Plus — King, pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Reid Anderson — is predominately an original band. The Jazz at the Oxford sets will be the trio’s first performances in Bend, and as such the group is looking forward to offering a cross-section of original material, jazz standards and pop tunes.

“When you play Portland many times, any major U.S. town or any town for that matter, you get the feeling that people have come back to see you and of course you’re feeling good,” King said. “But there’s something about when you play a town you’ve never played and you feel a sort of excitable energy, hopefully, from some people that have never seen us before.”

The band may be in its wheelhouse on “It’s Hard,” but the title is apt. “(It) ends up being a lot more work, because you’re finding the right tune, finding the right balance, rearranging,” King said.

That process, at least, hasn’t changed much since The Bad Plus’ formation in 2000 in Minneapolis. King said he and Anderson generally select the songs the band will interpret, while Iverson — who generally isn’t as keyed in to what’s happening in pop music — will feed off the harmonies the other two create.

“We’re very different people, No. 1,” King said. “One of the ways we’ve somehow stayed together is that we’re sort of like leaders when we’re not together. So we have these three type-A kind of guys, and so you would think that that would be a disaster, but we grew up together and know each other very well, so in many ways we actually collaborate quite well. … We’ve known each other for over 30 years; we’ve been a band now for 17 years. It’s one of those things where we sort of see how each other digests this music, and we roll accordingly.”

All three musicians compose for the band, and their excursions into pop and classical music influence The Bad Plus’ original songs as much as jazz does.

“There’s no way to be honest with your life experience and shut out all that music,” King said. “To be in a bubble and to consider jazz is one thing — I mean, I think that jazz was not this pure thing that landed from another planet; it grew out of other traditions, other folk music traditions, blues traditions, gospel traditions.”

Another thing that hasn’t changed in nearly two decades: The Bad Plus rarely rehearses, using soundchecks and time on the road to work out material. The band has no leader and has remained the same three people since its inception, a rarity in the jazz genre.

“That’s the huge benefit of being in a working band,” King said. “It’s just such a wonderful byproduct of committing to an ensemble, is that you can then roll in and you’ve got a language, you have a shared aesthetic, you know each other, you know what to do. … Instead of seeing an anonymous, great saxophone player performing — ‘Oh, I’m gonna go hear some jazz tonight’ — no, really you’re gonna go hear The Bad Plus tonight, which is these three people.”

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