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INTERVIEWS

Brad Mehldau: Dragons & Dreams

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For many, pianist Brad Mehldau's recording Day is Done (Nonesuch Records, 2005) with drummer Jeff Ballard and bassist Larry Grenadier came as close to trio perfection as is reasonable to expect in your wildest dreams. Perhaps perfection is a chimera, yet even if attainable it's at best fleeting by nature. But for Mehldau that doesn't stop the hunt for the stuff of his own wildest dreams. That elusive 'in-the-zone' quality when the music seems to play the musician rather then the other way round comes more freely in dreams than on the stage, and dreams--or rather the magic ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brad Mehldau / Mark Guiliana: Mehliana - Taming the Dragon

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Whilst synthesizer-driven ambient groove music seems like a left-field move, nothing pianist/composer Brad Mehldau does should surprise anymore. The piano trio releases of Mehldau's first recording decade established his reputation as the most influential jazz pianist since Keith Jarrett. The brilliant, emotionally intense Elegiac Cycle (Warner Bros. Records, 1999) marked a significant departure from his previous works, opening the way to increasingly frequent experimental forays--from duo collaborations with soprano Renée Fleming, Love Sublime (Nonesuch, 2006), and mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, Love Songs (Naïve Records, 2010), to the ambitious orchestral jazz-suite Highway Rider (Nonesuch Records, 2010). In this context, Taming ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Brad Mehldau / Mark Guiliana: Mehliana - Taming the Dragon

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First impressions shouldn't necessarily be the lasting ones. Despite, according to the press sheet, having played together for several years, über-pianist Brad Mehldau and drummer Mark Guiliana only began touring as Mehliana in 2013, and one of the heavily electronic duo's early performances at the 40th Vossa Jazz Festival in Voss, Norway was, sadly, eminently forgettable. But a year has passed and, in the interim, the duo has clocked a lot of road time, and with the released of Taming the Dragon, it's a pleasure to report that plenty has changed since that Vossa Jazz date...and all for the better. ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

Ian Patterson's Best Live Shows of 2013

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After seven amazing years covering jazz/creative music throughout much of South East Asia I have relocated to Ireland. It's been a real pleasure to reconnect with the music scene in my home country after a long absence. The country boasts a vibrant music scene, particularly in Dublin, where a good number of innovative musicians are producing some excellent sounds. In addition, a number of progressive music agencies are doing tremendous work in attracting outstanding international acts to Ireland. The following list is a baker's dozen of the best concerts I caught in 2013. April 12: Matthew Bourne, ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Brad Mehldau at The National Concert Hall, Dublin

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Brad Mehldau National Concert Hall Dublin, Ireland December 1, 2013 The National Concert Hall of Dublin is a long way from the bars and clubs of Greenwich Village, New York, where pianist Brad Mehldau cut his teeth in the early 1990s. Originally built for the Dublin International Exhibition of 1865 this impressive edifice is the home of classical music in Ireland. The venue says much, not only about Mehldau's status, but about jazz's credentials as an art form--at the very top end of the scale at least. The concert had all the trappings ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Ahmad Jamal: San Francisco, CA, June 18, 2013

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Ahmad JamalSymphony HallSan Francisco, CAJune 18, 2013SFJAZZ has accomplished a lot of things as it approaches its first half-year in its new building. Amongst them is revealing dedicated audiences for specific areas of the jazz universe, including piano-led bands. On the face of things, little may appear to connect two masters of this format, Ahmad Jamal, who performed on June 13 at Symphony Hall, and Brad Mehldau, who performed from April 26 to 28 at the new SFJAZZ Center. But both musicians and both groups are more similar than they might seem. In addition, in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brad Mehldau Trio: Where Do You Start

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Hot on the heels of Brad Mehldau's Ode (Nonesuch, 2012)--the pianist's first all-original set with his current trio--comes Where Do You Start, culled from the same recording sessions but, with the exception of one Mehldau tune, all cover material. This isn't the first time Mehldau has split a particularly fruitful session down the same compositional line: Anything Goes (Warner Bros.) and House on Hill (Nonesuch) were both same from the same sessions, recorded with original drummer Jorge Rossy before he left the trio to return to Spain. But the two were released two years apart--the cover-song Anything in 2004 and ...



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