444

Pat Metheny / Brad Mehldau: Metheny Mehldau

CJ Shearn By

Sign in to view read count
This collaboration between Pat Metheny and Brad Mehldau reveals them to be a perfect match for each other. Although they have contrasting, profoundly personal approaches, they share a certain admiration for each other's music. Metheny was transfixed upon hearing the pianist's playing on the minor-key piece "Chill, from Joshua Redman's Moodswing (Warner Bros, 1994), while "Are You Going With Me? from the Pat Metheny Group's essential Travels (ECM, 1983) was the tune that converted Mehldau to a lifelong appreciation. This is the finest duet recording Pat has released since the beautiful Beyond the Missouri Sky (Verve, 1997) with Charlie Haden.

The duo explores seven pieces by the guitarist and three by Mehldau; the pianist's regular trio partners, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, join them on two selections. The duo tracks evidence how much simpatico is shared between the pianist and guitarist. For example, Metheny handles the melancholy opener "Unrequited with an understanding of Mehldau's lean towards Western European-inspired harmony as if they have played for years. Likewise, Mehldau understands the purely melodic content of Metheny's writing, where his solos on the Latin inspired "Ahmid-6 and the pretty steel-string acoustic-led "Summer Day (which one hopes will become a Metheny standard) complement and enhance them greatly.

The two quartet tracks, however, are where the band's possibilities really shine. The exciting "Ring of Life (by Metheny) is one of the album's best tracks, marrying a knotty chord sequence with a crackling drum and bass groove from Ballard and Grenadier. Mehldau pulls out variations of the melody in his solo, while Metheny heightens the tension on his lone guitar synth solo of the disc. "Say the Brother's Name, originally recorded with John Scofield, receives a brighter treatment; Grenadier and Ballard superbly ride the eighth note-based bossa-like feel behind funky solo turns.

On the duo tracks that make up the remainder of the session, Mehldau acquits himself beautifully on Metheny's ballad "Find Me in Your Dreams, while they investigate Metheny-like melodic terrain on his own "Annie's Bittersweet Cake, which incidentally would not sound out of place on Pat Metheny Group (ECM, 1978). Metheny also contributes a hip nod to his friend, the late Jaco Pastorius, on "Bachelors III, incorporating a reference to "Three Views of a Secret. Finally, "Make Peace, a folksy meditation on baritone guitar, features a breathtaking Jarrett-esque solo from Mehldau.

This disc finds Metheny and Mehldau really listening and challenging each other, without losing the accessibility of their music. Guitar/piano duos can be tricky, but this one works with the orchestral tools each player brings to the table. According to Metheny, this is just the first installment; a second volume focusing mostly on the quartet material is due soon. As great as this disc is, another round would be most welcome.


Track Listing: Unrequited; Ahmid-6; Summer Day; Ring of Life; Legend; Find Me in Your Dreams; Say the Brother's Name; Bachelors III; Annie's Bittersweet Cake; Make Peace.

Personnel: Pat Metheny: acoustic and electric guitars, guitar synth; Brad Mehldau: piano; Larry Grenadier: bass; (4,7) Jeff Ballard: drums (4,7).

Title: Metheny Mehldau | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Nonesuch Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Moment Frozen CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Minor Step CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read A Meeting Of Spirits CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read First Light CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Clean" CD/LP/Track Review Clean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "Find Your Wings" CD/LP/Track Review Find Your Wings
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 5, 2016
Read "TriAngular Bent" CD/LP/Track Review TriAngular Bent
by Dave Wayne
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "Expanding Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Expanding Heart
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "Stolen Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "New Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review New Helsinki
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 8, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.