All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Joel Frahm with Brad Mehldau: Don't Explain


Sign in to view read count
Saxophonist Joel Frahm's third outing on Palmetto is a showcase for duets with pianist Brad Mehldau. Frahm impressed with his 1999 debut Sorry No Decaf as a neo bopper and I missed his 2000 venture on The Navigator. The studio can get pretty lonely with only two artists performing and we're happy to report that this is a relaxed and stimulating session for these two old friends from West Hartford, Connecticut.

Frahm has chosen standards and jazz standards with a minimal number of original compositions so that the listener can easily gauge his performance with the many artists who have recorded tunes like "Don't Explain", "Smile" and "Get Happy". I don't hear any of the swagger of his tenor sax debut recording but that isn't what is called for here. His musical persona on the ballads is akin to Lee Konitz, although on tenor sax, both introspective and inherently swinging. Likewise Frahm's use of soprano sax on the Lennon-McCartney "Mother Nature's Son", "East of the Sun" and "Smile" displays probing lines rather than bold declarative sentences.

Brad Mehldau, one of the hottest piano figures of the past decade, acts here as a good foil and provides the piano feeds that are needed. Although he isn't given much solo space, Mehldau is playing a melodic backbone for Frahm's statements. Mehldau also occasionally uses a stride-like left hand on some up-tempo work. Since this is Frahm's date, we do not get the usual Mehldau liner notes which explain the Existential meaning of liner notes. Instead the two musicians individually reflect back to their high school years and what it meant to them. So this is a good multi-purpose album to start the New Year off with for wining, dining or romancing.

Track Listing: Don't Explain, Get Happy, Oleo, Round Midnight #3, Mother Nature's Son, East of the Sun, Turnaround, Away From Home, Smile, Round Midnight #1.

Personnel: Joel Frahm,tenor and soprano sax; Brad Mehldau, piano

Title: Don't Explain | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Palmetto Records


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read All Melody CD/LP/Track Review
All Melody
by Phil Barnes
Published: March 23, 2018
Read The Future is Female CD/LP/Track Review
The Future is Female
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Hunters & Scavengers CD/LP/Track Review
Hunters & Scavengers
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow CD/LP/Track Review
Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Transatlantic CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "Dust Shines" CD/LP/Track Review Dust Shines
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 13, 2018
Read "From a Familiar Place" CD/LP/Track Review From a Familiar Place
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 23, 2017
Read "Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin" CD/LP/Track Review Beninghove's Hangmen Plays Led Zeppelin
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Prototype" CD/LP/Track Review Prototype
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "This Was Now" CD/LP/Track Review This Was Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 27, 2018
Read "Peaceful Easy Feeling: The Songs of Jack Tempchin" CD/LP/Track Review Peaceful Easy Feeling: The Songs of Jack Tempchin
by Doug Collette
Published: September 3, 2017