All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

18

Brad Mehldau Trio: Seymour Reads The Constitution!

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
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 masterpiece, Anything Goes (Warner Brothers, 2004), followed up with a full masterpiece, Day Is Done (Nonesuch Records, 2005), one of the finest piano trio albums of the new millennium.

More trio records followed: Ode and Where Do You Start, both on Nonsuch Records in 2012; Blues and Ballads (Nonesuch, 2016). With Mehldau—as it has been with the trio work of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett—everything he does in the format has to be judged by comparison with his own oeuvre, a body of work that stands, consistently, above (with some exceptions; Evans and Jarrett, Marc Copland and Fred Hersch come to mind) the most skilled and inspired competition.

So where does the oddly-titled Seymour Reads The Constitution fit in? Near the top, bumping elbows with Anything Goes and Day Is Done. Mehldau is, of course, a virtuoso with deep classical leanings that he pulls over into the jazz realm, where he mixes it up with improvisational acumen and a trio dynamic—featuring bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard—that crackles with energy.

Mehldau employs something of a template on his trio outings—and this is a good thing. Some originals, a Great American Songbook tune or two, a visit to the jazz standards, and some inspired and perhaps seemingly unlikely contributions from the pop/rock world. Of the last of the mentioned categories, "Friends" from the Beach Boys songbook, that waltzes with an exceptional and vibrant elan, veering into near unrecognizability—first they're playing the tune; then they're sort of not playing the tune as they roll into something related but not quite the same—is in the best jazz tradition.

The Mehldau originals, "Spiral," the title tune and "Ten Tune" are as strong as anything the pianist has written—not walk-away-whistling-the-melody compositions, but rather accessibly cerebral sounds, that give way to Lerner and Lowe's familiar "Almost Like Being In Love," laid down here with an urgency, and maybe with a bit of chip on the shoulder. And Elmo Hope's "De-Dah" sounds as if it was written specifically for Mehldau, like it belongs in the twenty-first century instead of the middle of the twentieth.

The trio closes it out with saxophonist Sam Rivers' beautiful "Beatrice." It is the avant-garde-leaning Rivers' most engaging composition, and Mehldau and company treat it with respect, revealing in a vivacious fashion new facets of it loveliness.

Track Listing: Spiral; Seymour Reads the Constitution!; Almost Like Being in Love; De-Dah; Friends; Ten Tune; Great Day; Beatrice.

Personnel: Brad Mehldau: piano; Larry Grenadier: bass; Jeff Ballard: drums.

Title: Seymour Reads The Constitution! | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Nonesuch Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Seymour Reads The Constitution!

Seymour Reads The...

Nonesuch Records
2018

buy
After Bach

After Bach

Nonesuch Records
2018

buy
Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau

Chris Thile & Brad...

Nonesuch Records
2017

buy
Blues and Ballads

Blues and Ballads

Nonesuch Records
2016

buy
Nearness

Nearness

Nonesuch Records
2016

buy
10 Years Solo Live

10 Years Solo Live

Nonesuch Records
2015

buy

Related Articles

Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read Super Mood CD/LP/Track Review
Super Mood
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2018
Read Beheaded Totem CD/LP/Track Review
Beheaded Totem
by James Fleming
Published: September 24, 2018
Read New Hope CD/LP/Track Review
New Hope
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 23, 2018
Read The Nobuki Takamen Trio CD/LP/Track Review
The Nobuki Takamen Trio
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2018
Read "Of Light and Shadows" CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017
Read "Blues For Maggie" CD/LP/Track Review Blues For Maggie
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 7, 2018
Read "In the Wake" CD/LP/Track Review In the Wake
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: May 28, 2018
Read "Cosmological Horizons" CD/LP/Track Review Cosmological Horizons
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 6, 2018
Read "Seymour Reads The Constitution!" CD/LP/Track Review Seymour Reads The Constitution!
by Doug Collette
Published: May 23, 2018
Read "The Great Nostalgist" CD/LP/Track Review The Great Nostalgist
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 29, 2017