179

Brad Mehldau, Solo Piano at Sotheby

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Submitted on behalf of Michael Mellia

Brad Mehlau's agenda soon became apparent at the 7/25 Sotheby's solo concert. He did not show up intending to play classical music, jazz, or even pop. Brad sat down at the piano and began to play music- that Platonic notion of music in its purest form that often eludes classification. Indeed, aside from the fact that Brad played melodies and improvisations, one cannot provide a description that would allow a listener to understand his highly original concept without actually hearing it firsthand.
This quality, i.e. music that can be classified in no other way than simply "music," can be used to describe Miles Davis' various groups throughout his career, as well as the later projects of Duke Ellington. Certainly Brad's knowledge of classical music theory shines through in his solo playing, but it is not without heavy inflections of pop and the entire jazz tradition. Playing standards with sonata-like introductions and interludes, thick contrapuntal passages with improvised lines in both hands, a deep, meditative sense of stride piano, and fluid romantic lines demonstrate a concept developed far beyond his peers. Exploring all registers of the piano, Brad is able to flawlessly execute any two ideas he can conceive- simultaneously.
Brad himself cites Keith Jarrett as an influence, but that does not take away from his originality. After all, Keith practically invented the improvised solo concert with such monumental recordings as "The Kohln Concert" and "Facing You", both of which cannot be described other than "music for piano". Mehldau's sense of time, rythmn, and harmony are completely personal, and although traces of his teacher Fred Hersch show through on occasion, Brad has definitely found his own voice. Realizing that "heads" of tunes are simply vehicles, Brad Mehldau has wisely chosen to modernize his repertoire, just as the be-boppers of the 40's and 50's improvised over popular Broadway show tunes of the era. Sotheby's jazz aficionados were lucky enough to experience Brad's interpretations of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android," Robert Plant's "29 Palms," the Beatles' "Mother Nature's Son," as well as classics such as Thelonious' own "Monk's Dream." After listening to Brad Mehldau sit behind the piano, it soon becomes clear that his goal is to play music, to play the piano itself well, rather than to become locked into any one genre. His four "Art of the Trio" albums have already documented his development over the past seven years. As his style continues to evolve, watch out for "Progression: The Art of the Trio, Volume V."


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Seth Yacovone Blues Trio At Red Square Live Reviews The Seth Yacovone Blues Trio At Red Square
by Doug Collette
Published: July 23, 2017
Read Earl Thomas At Biscuits & Blues Live Reviews Earl Thomas At Biscuits & Blues
by Walter Atkins
Published: July 22, 2017
Read My Morning Jacket on The Green At Shelburne Museum Live Reviews My Morning Jacket on The Green At Shelburne Museum
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Garana Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Garana Jazz Festival 2017
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Babel Med Music 2017" Live Reviews Babel Med Music 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: April 12, 2017
Read "Siena Jazz 2016" Live Reviews Siena Jazz 2016
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 12, 2016
Read "My Morning Jacket on The Green At Shelburne Museum" Live Reviews My Morning Jacket on The Green At Shelburne Museum
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Buenos Aires Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Buenos Aires Jazz Festival 2016
by Mark Holston
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "Panama Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews Panama Jazz Festival 2017
by Mark Holston
Published: February 21, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!