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Recorded live at New York's famous Village Vanguard, Art of The Trio, Vol. 2 is full of surprises and curious delights. Mehldau first came to prominence as a sideman in Joshua Redman's quartet but lately this classically trained pianist has garnered rave reviews on his own. His greatest influence has to be the late Bill Evans and when he applies his soft touch and interpretive skills to a familiar melody, comparisons are inevitable. Bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy move freely around Brad's angular piano lines, displaying the kind of group interplay Bill's classic trios became famous for. Brad's eclectic choice of material ranges from pop standards ("It's All Right With Me"), to full fledged bebop ("Monk's Dream"), all the way over to schmaltzy Mancini movie scores ("Moon River"). The fact that he can extract something substantial from each and every one of these tunes (even the Mancini!) speaks volumes. Brad states the melody and then proceeds, with sidemen in tow, to dig deep for additional layers of meaning. A sophisticated and mature statement from a young giant on the rise!
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.