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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brad Mehldau Trio: Seymour Reads The Constitution!

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Pianist Brad Mehldau has an adventurous and innovative side, one that he displays on Largo (Warner Brothers, 2002) and Highway Rider (Nonesuch, 2010), albums that feature expansive and--with Largo--electronic inputs. But he always returns to the acoustic trio format that brought him to prominence. It began with a series of five Art Of The Trio albums on the Warner Brothers label released between 1997 and 2001, a project that led to a rise that hit its zenith with the near ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brad Mehldau Trio: Seymour Reads The Constitution!

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The track listing of Seymour Reads The Constitution! is ultimately as deceptive as the album's title (not to mention its cryptic cover image). The ten cuts feature only three compositions written by Brad Mehldau, yet these pieces constitute almost half the record's sixty-plus minutes playing time. As a result, the covers provide exceptional pacing because the pianist and his band explore that material just as deftly, only slightly less intently. And markedly less intensely than, for example, the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brad Mehldau: After Bach

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The exacting rigor in pianist Brad Mehldau's playing made it inevitable he would one day issue a record devoted to a great classical composer. Yet, true to the open-ended implications of its title, After Bach is not merely a recitation of the master's work (not that it really could be, given Mehldau's penchant for improvisation). In fact, the seven original pieces here outnumber the five of Bach's from The Well-Tempered Clavier. And over the course of the dozen ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brad Mehldau: After Bach

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It seems that classical composer J.S. Bach has provided a surge of inspiration for some recent releases by artists on the Nonesuch label, starting with the Bach Trios led by an unusual yet explosive combination of musicians such as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, mandolinist Chris Thile, and bassist Edgar Meyer. Now we have another Bach-inspired release, this one by the highly acclaimed pianist Brad Mehldau, with works consisting of selection of the composer's compositions, along with several originals inspired by Bach's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau: Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau

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If you blinked at the wrong time, it was easy to miss the fact that Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau had played together at all. For two such restless collaborators, each occasional encounter was one more fleeting meet-up among many others--a quick one-off in 2011, a nine-city string of duo shows in 2013 and another two-night live stand after a couple years more. That last was accompanied by a quick stop in the studio to finally give the rest of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joshua Redman & Brad Mehldau: Nearness

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Brilliant musicians don't always make brilliant music when they collaborate and while that's sometimes been the case with pianist Brad Mehldau and saxophonist Joshua Redman, on the duo concert recordings that make up the appropriately-titled Nearness, they live up to their elevated pedigree. And that's individual as well as shared cachet: Mehldau spent a fair amount of time, some eighteen months to be exact, as a member of Redman's groups in the early Nineties and they formally collaborated on Highway ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brad Mehldau Trio: Blues and Ballads

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Call Brad Mehldau's Blues and Ballads the pianist's “Every Man Set." There has been, from the beginning of Mehldau's career, a sense of the cerebral in his approach, with its classical music influences and his deep technical virtuosity. Throw the sometimes dense and erudite writing for selected liner notes (mostly earlier in his career) into that mix, and “Too deep for me" might be a reaction of the perennial everyman. Except for the beauty.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brad Mehldau Trio: Blues and Ballads

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It's easy to play the blues--or at the very least it's easy to learn the basics--but keeping the form fresh and interesting is another matter entirely. Likewise, any beginner can tackle a quiet ballad, but presenting something simple and pretty is really harder than it sounds. The Brad Mehldau Trio manages its always-distinctive blend of all those things on this lineup's fifth release, still making song-sculpting and harmonic shifting into something both inventive and accessible.They run a vast ...

LIVE FROM PHILADELPHIA

Brad Mehldau Trio / GoGo Penguin at World Cafe Live

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If there's one thing about music that keeps us all going, it has to be endless adaptability. There's no instrument or genre that doesn't have some fresh possibilities still to discover (except maybe hair metal, I suppose). jny:Philadelphia's World Cafe Live offered yet another illustration of the idea by hosting two exceptional piano trios within the space of a week. The basic setup may be the same, but the results could have hardly been more different. Brad Mehldau ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brad Mehldau: Brad Mehldau: 10 Years Solo Live

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It is surprising that Brad Mehldau and Keith Jarrett do not draw even more comparisons. Both cross genres with ease, provide consistently high quality content and are unquestionably the finest piano virtuosos in modern music. With the release of Mehldau's 10 Years Solo Live, he solidifies his position as the heir apparent to Jarrett's place atop the solo jazz piano pedistal.The five hours of live music in this anthology are the result of Mehldau's review and segmentation of ...