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The Bad Plus: The Dark Heart Of The Bee Gees

A ghostly bass plucks out notes that tremble with foreboding. A Steinway piano injects haunting, minor-key arpeggios. A woman chimes in, her voice seemingly filtered through gauze. It's natural to expect a song of apocalyptic doom, until it becomes clear that she's crooning "How Deep Is Your Love," that falsetto-fueled Bee Gees relic from the disco era.

After a few lines, her voice brightens, warms and grows clearer. But the vaguely dissonant instrumentation keeps a weird mood going. The singer is Minneapolis rocker Wendy Lewis, who joins the indie jazz outfit The Bad Plus on its new album, For All I Care, on which the fearless musicians tunnel into the dark heart of The Bee Gees, among many others. The Bad Plus converts "How Deep Is Your Love" from an excuse to slow dance to a pitiful plaint, but it's worth noting that Lewis addresses the song to "my savior when I fall." So The Bee Gees were singing about sin and redemption in the context of disco love. Who knew?

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Marc Silver
Marc Silver, who edits NPR's global health blog, has been a reporter and editor for the Baltimore Jewish Times, U.S. News & World Report and National Geographic. He is the author of Breast Cancer Husband: How to Help Your Wife (and Yourself) During Diagnosis, Treatment and Beyond and co-author, with his daughter, Maya Silver, of My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks: Real-Life Advice From Real-Life Teens. The NPR story he co-wrote with Rebecca Davis and Viola Kosome -- 'No Sex For Fish' — won a Sigma Delta Chi award for online reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists.