BadBadNotGood (stylized as BADBADNOTGOOD, abbreviated as BBNG) is a Canadian music group from Toronto, Ontario. The group includes Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, Leland Whitty on saxophone, and Alexander Sowinski on drums. They are known for their interpretations of hip hop tracks and their collaborations with Tyler, The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Danny Brown, and Ghostface Killah.
2010–11: Beginnings and BBNG
Matthew Tavares, Alexander Sowinski, and Chester Hansen met in 2010 through the Humber College jazz program in Toronto. The young threesome united over a shared love for hip hop music, including that of MF DOOM and Odd Future. Hansen plays acoustic and electric bass in the group, while Sowinski, who often dons a pig mask during performances, is on drums and sampler. Tavares handles keys, playing rhythms on a Prophet '08 and electric piano.
One of BadBadNotGood's first collaborations was a cover of "Lemonade" by Gucci Mane. They played a piece based on Odd Future's music for a panel of their jazz performance instructors, who did not find that it had musical value. After they released the track on YouTube as The Odd Future Sessions Part 1, it got the attention of rapper Tyler, The Creator, who felt differently and helped the trio's video go viral.
BBNG uploaded their debut album to Bandcamp in June 2011, which included covers of songs from A Tribe Called Quest, Waka Flocka Flame and several tracks from Odd Future. The trio had their first show at The Red Light in Toronto. In September 2011, they released their first album, BBNG, recorded in a three-hour session. Dante Alighieri on Sputnikmusic called the album "a welcome reinterpretation of modern jazz without the pretense of snotty wine parties and thick rimmed hipster dinosaurs."
BBNG recorded a live jam session with Tyler, The Creator in Sowinski's basement in October 2011. Videos from the session received more than a million views between them on YouTube.
The trio opened for Roy Ayers at the Nujazz Festival in January 2012 and played for Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards in London. At a February tribute to J Dilla in Toronto, their covers of "Lemonade" and "Hard in da Paint" had hundreds moshing.
2012–2015: BBNG2, III, and Sour Soul
BadBadNotGood released their second album, BBNG2, in April 2012. Recorded from a ten-hour studio session, it features Leland Whitty on saxophone and Luan Phung playing electric guitar. The notes to the album indicate that "No one above the age of 21 was involved in the making of this album." The album has original material as well as covers of songs by Kanye West, My Bloody Valentine, James Blake, Earl Sweatshirt, and Feist.
The trio was the band-in-residence at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and backed Frank Ocean of Odd Future both weekends.
Prior to the release of the album III, the first single "Hedron", became available on June 20, 2013 when it was featured on the compilation album Late Night Tales: Bonobo. BADBADNOTGOOD assisted in production and musical composition for the soundtrack of The Man with the Iron Fists. On January 14, 2014, the second single from "III" was released titled "CS60". The third single, "Can't Leave The Night", was released on March 11, 2014 with the B-Side "Sustain". III was released on May 6, 2014 on CD, Vinyl, and digital download.
The fourth album, Sour Soul, was released by Lex Records on Feb 24 2015 in collaboration with Ghostface Killah. Unlike their earlier works, it is more of a heavy hip hop album with light jazz accents. In December 2015, the band posted covers of some holiday classics on their Youtube channel, including a performance of Christmas Time Is Here incollaboration with Choir! Choir! Choir!.
Leland Whitty officially joined the band as saxophone player on January 1, 2016.
Both Tavares and Hansen have since withdrawn from Humber, while Sowinski remains enrolled "for the school's dental plan". The group produced "Hoarse" on Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt's studio debut, Doris, and "GUV'NOR", a remix on JJ DOOM's Key to the Kuffs (Butter Edition).
Their fifth studio album, titled IV , was released by Innovative Leisure on July 8, 2016. It featured several guest collaborations including Future Islands front-man Sam Herring, saxophonist Colin Stetson, Haitian-Canadian musician Kaytranada, American hip hop artist Mick Jenkins, and Canadian singer-songwriter Charlotte Day Wilson. In December 2016, the album was picked as BBC Radio 6 Music's #1 album of the year.
Paula Mejia, in a Prefix magazine review, called BADBADNOTGOOD "a jazz trio on paper -- but often strange, forever imaginative, and ultimately revolutionary hip-hop and electronic beatmakers at heart." NOW magazine's Anupa Mistry has lauded BBNG's "spastic, sonorous, genre-fucking rap covers." Jerell Tongson, in describing BADBADNOTGOOD's hip hop influences, wrote that the group "deconstruct the four bar loops, understanding how to work crescendos by stretching out and reshaping the music into their own vision of silky smooth key progressions, pounding drums, and tasty bass lines."
Matthew A. Tavares - keyboards (2010-present)
Alexander Sowinski - drums, sampler (2010-present)
Chester Hansen - bass guitar, upright bass (2010-present)
Leland Whitty - saxophone, viola, violin, guitar (2016-present)