299

Brad Mehldau: Live in Tokyo

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Brad Mehldau: Live in Tokyo Far be it from me to judge a record by its slipcover, but the photo of Brad Mehldau gracing the jacket of the pianist's new solo CD, Live in Tokyo (arms crossed, head bowed, jet-black background) made my heart sink. For if the prodigiously talented Mehldau has a tragic flaw, it's the self-conscious preciousness that seeps into much of his work and this is a slipcover that just screams important. Still, hope springs eternal and, tossing aside that worrisome sleeve, I waded in.

First, the good news: the program, recorded in one evening at Tokyo's Sumida Triphony Hall in February 2003, is typically quirky Mehldau (two songs each by Nick Drake and the Gershwins, one Porter tune, one Monk, a very short Mehldau original "Intro," and a very long take on Radiohead's "Paranoid Android") and the disc is peppered with trademark doses of dizzying technique.

But I'm afraid neither is enough to overcome the dour, relentless seriousness of the entire affair. Nearly everything is taken at a funereal pace, most damagingly "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "From This Moment On." (The latter picks up speed toward the middle, but it's too little, too late.) "Paranoid Android" is better, if over-long (we get warmed-over Keith Jarrett by the end of the twenty-minute odyssey) and the Drake songs, if unremarkable, work just fine.

But only "Monk's Dream" and "How Long Has This Been Going On" really catch fire here, and for oddly opposing reasons at that: "Going On" fits the pianist's deep dark introspection like a glove, while not even Mehldau can resist the playfulness inherent in Monk. Stooping happily to quote Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy" in the midst of the loose, gnashing fray he brings to Monk's tune, Mehldau reveals clearly what's missing from the rest of this record: fun.


Track Listing: 1 Things Behind the Sun 4:37; 2 Intro 2:42; 3 Someone to Watch Over Me 9:55; 4 From This Moment On 7:55; 5 Monk's Dream 7:59; 6 Paranoid Android 19:29; 7 How Long Has This Been Going On? 9:00; 8 River Man 8:59.

Personnel: Brad Mehldau - piano.

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Nonesuch Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Ljubljana" CD/LP/Track Review Ljubljana
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 6, 2017
Read "Lubbock (on everything)" CD/LP/Track Review Lubbock (on everything)
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 6, 2016
Read "Timeless Again" CD/LP/Track Review Timeless Again
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 11, 2016
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "The Promise Of Happiness" CD/LP/Track Review The Promise Of Happiness
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "All L.A. Band" CD/LP/Track Review All L.A. Band
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 4, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!