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Pianist Brad Mehldau’s self proclaimed “Art of the Trio” decree continues with this 2-CD set, recorded live at New York City’s infamous “Village Vanguard” establishment featuring his longtime associates, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy, as the band continues its temperate yet deterministic assault on jazz piano trio fare.
The musicians launch the proceedings with the climactic yet fiercely swinging “The More I See You.” Here, Mehldau pursues a series of subtle complexities and deftly rendered grooves, sparked by Grenadier’s pumping bass lines and Rossy’s rapidly flowing cymbal work as the ensemble excels when working through various rhythmic transformations. However, the pianist’s trance-like yet at times, soulful rendition of Hammerstein/Kern’s “The Folks Who Live On The Hill” is awash with acutely stitched together micro themes in concert with the group’s superb technical acumen and consummate elegance. Meanwhile, Mehldau cranks out Art Tatum-like right hand single note flurries in concurrence with the rhythm sections’ oscillating pulse during their fifteen-minute spin on the Dietz/Schwartz classic, “Alone Together.”
Highlights flourish throughout as Mehldau embarks upon an extended solo, teeming with stirring opuses, amid his tranquilly energetic aplomb on Fain/Webster’s “Secret Love”. Additionally, the band integrates fervent, Bop-ish lines atop Mehldau’s vicious left-hand, right-hand arpeggios during the trio’s lengthy version of Gershwin’s “Long Ago And Far Away”, whereas the musicians intermittently opt for a slight changing of the guard as Mehldau comps behind Grenadier’s peppery solo and Rossy’s swift yet delicately executed brushwork and well placed cymbal swashes. Overall, the musicians shrewdly utilize space and depth as a vehicle to implement fragmented shifts in strategy as they also expand, contract, modify, and replenish their combined mode of attack in altogether stunning fashion. Strongly recommended.