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ALBUM REVIEWS

Brad Mehldau Trio: Seymour Reads The Constitution!

Read "Seymour Reads The Constitution!" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Brad Mehldau Trio: Seymour Reads The Constitution!

Read "Seymour Reads The Constitution!" reviewed by Doug Collette

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Brad Mehldau: After Bach

Read "After Bach" reviewed by Doug Collette

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 ...

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Brad Mehldau: After Bach

Read "After Bach" reviewed by Nenad Georgievski

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Brad Mehldau Trio: Blues and Ballads

Read "Blues and Ballads" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

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.

ALBUM REVIEWS

Brad Mehldau Trio: Blues and Ballads

Read "Blues and Ballads" reviewed by Geno Thackara

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

Read "Brad Mehldau Trio / GoGo Penguin at World Cafe Live" reviewed by Geno Thackara

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 ...

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Brad Mehldau: Brad Mehldau: 10 Years Solo Live

Read "Brad Mehldau: 10 Years Solo Live" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

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 ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Brad Mehldau: 10 Years Solo Live

Read "Brad Mehldau: 10 Years Solo Live" reviewed by Nenad Georgievski

It is interesting how solo piano performance holds a special, privileged place in jazz music. What is even more interesting is how artists have gone to renew this format over and over again as time went on. Along the way they have expanded the language of improvised music by exploring novel paths of thematic developments. An entire lifetime can be spent on understanding how a single instrument like the piano can be re-used and re-planned in variously different contexts in ...

INTERVIEWS

Brad Mehldau: Dragons & Dreams

Read "Brad Mehldau: Dragons & Dreams" reviewed by Ian Patterson

For many, pianist Brad Mehldau's recording Day is Done (Nonesuch Records, 2005) with drummer Jeff Ballard and bassist Larry Grenadier came as close to trio perfection as is reasonable to expect in your wildest dreams. Perhaps perfection is a chimera, yet even if attainable it's at best fleeting by nature. But for Mehldau that doesn't stop the hunt for the stuff of his own wildest dreams. That elusive 'in-the-zone' quality when the music seems to play the musician ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Brad Mehldau / Mark Guiliana: Mehliana - Taming the Dragon

Read "Mehliana - Taming the Dragon" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Whilst synthesizer-driven ambient groove music seems like a left-field move, nothing pianist/composer Brad Mehldau does should surprise anymore. The piano trio releases of Mehldau's first recording decade established his reputation as the most influential jazz pianist since Keith Jarrett. The brilliant, emotionally intense Elegiac Cycle (Warner Bros. Records, 1999) marked a significant departure from his previous works, opening the way to increasingly frequent experimental forays--from duo collaborations with soprano Renée Fleming, Love Sublime (Nonesuch, 2006), and mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Brad Mehldau / Mark Guiliana: Mehliana - Taming the Dragon

Read "Brad Mehldau / Mark Guiliana: Mehliana - Taming the Dragon" reviewed by John Kelman

First impressions shouldn't necessarily be the lasting ones. Despite, according to the press sheet, having played together for several years, über-pianist Brad Mehldau and drummer Mark Guiliana only began touring as Mehliana in 2013, and one of the heavily electronic duo's early performances at the 40th Vossa Jazz Festival in Voss, Norway was, sadly, eminently forgettable. But a year has passed and, in the interim, the duo has clocked a lot of road time, and with the released of Taming ...