The Bad Plus - where to start?

I heard "The Empire Strikes Backwards" by The Bad Plus on the radio the other day and liked it a lot...but I am not an experienced jazz head, anybody wanna point me to a good album to start with for the Bad Plus?
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I'd start with "These Are Vistas". It has 'Flim' and covers of 'Heart of Glass' and 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'.

"Give" and "Suspicious Activity" are also very good.

I would avoid there new release "For All I Care" with the vocalist Wendy Lewis. I consider this more of an ambitious failure...

BTW, definitely try and catch them in concert. I've seen them four times and it's always a great show.
Interesting comment Jazdoc - I just saw the new one at the local CD store and wondered about the whole vocalist thing (didn't pick it up as I already had a bigstack of vinyl in my clutches).

Cool thing I read about the band (if it's true): apparently the pianist is some kind of idiot savant w√ľnderkind who has also somehow remained totally insulated from hearing virtually any popular music growing up, so the drummer and bassist have reveled in working up these covers with this guy who approaches them with no preconceptions whatsoever, and without any real context of tunes like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or "Heart of Glass".

I have everything but the new one, and they're all very well-recorded IMO. Hearing "Everywhere You Turn" on the local NPR station is what first brought them to my attention - very beautiful song (off of "These Are The Vistas").
Yes, I would definitely start with 'these are the vistas' or 'give'. These are my favourites, with Prog coming next. Definitely avoid the new 'for all I care' as it is cringe-worthy with the exception of a few tracks.

There is also a live album; 'Blunt Object, Live in Tokyo' which sounds the best out of these discs as it has great live, spatial cues.

If you find yourself collecting this kind of music you might also try Medeski, Martin and Wood or Cinematic Orchestra. Both of these bands have Myspace pages to sample their tracks.

Thanks guys, I'll check 'em out.
Ditto "Vistas", and for an equally catchy but higher-browed treatment, try James Carter/Cyrus Chestnut/Ali Jackson/Reginald Veal "Gold Sounds", which is prog jazz covers of Pavement songs.
Free show at Californa Plaza tonite
if you ever get a chance to see them live, you will never see another drummer enjoying beating the crap out of his kit like this guy! Loads of fun!
I agree with the suggestions for "Vistas" and "Give". The live album is also OK. I saw one of the concerts recorded. I also agree with Grimace - the most fun a drummer can have with his clothes on...
I agree with the others who have commented about seeing them LIVE. They put on a great show, talk to the audience and can be very hilarious - especially the drummer who had some strange percussion items.

My two cd recommendations in order of preference are 'prog' and '...vistas'.

I have been listening to "Vistas" this is very good! I think I'll have to check out some of their other albums as well.

Who'd a thunk this is where my exploration of Frank Zappa would lead?

Thanks for the recommendations guys.