Thursday, January 26, 2006

Announcement: Brad Mehldau in Philly

Looks like this Friday I am heading to the city of brotherly love(Philadelphia) to see piano soloist Brad Mehldau perform in at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts located in Philadelphia, PA. Expect full coverage of this event.

In the meantime, feel free to check out my other blogs where I cover his performance here in New York with his jazz trio and check out my list of his recommended recordings if you are unfimilar with his music:

Review of Brad Mehldau's Trio

List of Recommened Recordings


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Jean-Michel Pilc: Piano Soloist at The Jazz Gallery

Last night with approximately twenty other people, I was privileged to see virtuoso pianist Jean-Michel Pilc perform solo at the Jazz Gallery which is located in the lower west-side of the village in Manhattan, New York.

At the outset, he mentioned how he at one time played with Harry Belafonte Jr. and that he then played a song that Mr. Belafonte would often sing. It was Jean-Michel's first time playing the piece publicly which was somewhat obvious.

The next song played sounded like a blues based improvisation. He didn't introduce the song, though I doubt if I would have understood him anyway if he did. The piece had a light funky feel to it and occasionally he would add an unexpected virtuoso splash though although these unexpected ornaments were a surprise they felt quite appropriate. I was reminded of Oscar Peterson once while listening to this piece when while playing the melody, he inserted a scale at blazing speed that completed his melodic line and then he resumed back to the melody.

The third piece of the night was an arrangement by Jean-Michel of a a Felix Mendelssohn composition that Jean-Michel played in a rather largo type manner. Though he played the piece slowly it was played with an orchestral tone but not necessarily an orchestral approach.

While the first three songs of the night Jean-Michel tended to stick with the format of the left hand acting as an accompaniment and right hand playing the melody, the fourth song of the night, which was a suite, he displayed several type of meter patterns and polyphonic type textures combining Russian classical type of influences(Scriabin etc...) with blues. Everyone in the audience could be seen moving their heads and body with the flow of the music.

Overall, I appreciated his harmonic basis and his adjacent application of various styles of music without losing his listeners.

Peter Duhon

Part relevant articles:
Brad Mehldau Live at The Vanguard Part I
Brad Mehldau Live at the Vanguard Part II
Great Films from 2005
Philip Seymour Hoffman: Interview Part I

Brad Mehldau Live in Philidelphia
Great Albums of 2005
Van Gogh at the Met
Excerpts of Capote Screening with Philip Seymour Hoffman interview Part II

Monday, January 23, 2006

Brad Mehldau, Keith Jarrett and Bach

Someone wrote the statement:
"When I hear him(Brad Mehldau), I often think of both Dexter Gordon and Monk(Thelonious Monk)"

I wrote back through email:

Actually, in his liner notes, Brad mentions Monk as one of his influences and somewhat as a "precursor" for what he is doing with his piano playing and his trio. Using different time meters and such. Right after reading his notes, I saw a documentary on Monk and I must say that the similarities are there but I am not saying "Brad trying to sound like Monk" but rather the way they stretch time, compress it and appreciate space and their appreciation for melody and how they use the melody to develop something fresh. Obviously Brad has other influences but there are similarities there and you picked up on it.

Brad and Keith both hear music in a unique way and express it in a way that belongs solely to them and it is a way of _expression that is totally coherent. After seeing Brad live a couple of times, I went back and listened to his music again and I was able to appreciate it even more so.

To really appreciate Keith and/or Brad, there has to be a certain familiarity with their music, with their body of work. Hearing some of their songs for the first time might be difficult for some. But taken in with the context of their entire body, it all starts to make sense.

But both of those guys have a serious appreciation for the entire history of the Keyboard. This appreciation is heard when they make references to certain artists and genres(Bach, Russian artists, gospel music, blues etc...) while they are playing. Depending on a person's personal education of the keyboard we hear the references. There is really no limits for these guys. It has been said that when Bach wrote solo music for the keyboard he was actually thinking of other things beside the keyboard: "he would write in imitation or evocation of a trio sonata, an accompanied soloist, or a concerto grosso; whether it uses a cellolike continuo bass; and so forth."- Richard Troeger, Playing Bach on the Keyboard.

He would often write something that was more of a French style or Italian style. He could use a chordal style, orchestral style or a loose and highly varied homophony. He would even write a solo keyboard piece in imitation of a small ensemble. Bach's Präludium Nr.10 e-moll BWV855 from the WTC "began life as an example of simple continuo style and was transformed into a texture suggesting bass line, continuo chords, and solo violin." Richard Troeger, Playing Bach on the Keyboard.

Now, I fully appreciate why KJ has often said that horn players have been a great influence on his playing, perhaps at some time when he is playing, he is actually imitating certain instruments and at other times perhaps imitating something else.

From what I've seen of Brad, he thinks from a very orchestral and structural standpoint. And as you mentioned perhaps at times also he is thinking of Dexter as well. His commanding orchestral approach to the piano is becoming more polished and even more intense. But from all of the recording I have, his approach is always elegant. I think he is at the point where he has mastered the adage of "knowing when to say when." Personally, I think Bach said it best "It's a matter of striking the notes at exactly the right moment."


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Brad Mehldau and Jazz: Too Busy?

Someone wrote the question below in an email:
"My impression of him from the one trio album
I have (art of the trio #4) is that he's too busy."

I wrote:

though I champion the work of Brad Mehldau, I understand why you could say that since I have that recording. I can really see why u would feel that way. It reminds me of two quotes "production of emotion determined by a resistance to emotion" and "unless there is compression there is no _expression." I would say listening to the recording that you have, I think what is heard on that album is that struggle of reduction or compression.

Two albums of his come quickly to mind, the first would be his solo/trio album "places." The solo tracks(29 Palms, Los Angles II, Paris, and Amsterdam) on places I think you would like since you enjoyed seeing him at Newport. The trio pieces on that album are less busy.

The second album that I think you may enjoy would be his trio Album "Anything Goes." Great renditions of a Paul Simon song, and of the standard "Get Happy" and a version of Radio Heads "everything in the right place."

Finally, his new disc is outstanding, though I would recommend listening to the albums mentioned in this email first and then listening to his latest DAY IS DONE. Its a fiery album. Considering that Brad is somewhat of a prolific artist I could say more but I'll save it and I would like to hear your opinion about any of the discs that I have mentioned.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Quote: Matisse

"There are two ways of expressing things; one is to show them crudely, the other is to evoke them with art."


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Philip Seymour Hoffman: GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD

Here at art comments, we would like to congratulate Philip Hoffman for winning the Best Actor award. A well deserved Golden Globe.

Philip Hoffman
stars in the film Capote which I have written quite extensively about here at art comments. Below you will find a couple of links to some blogs that I have written that are either about Capote or make mention of the film.


Best films of 2005

Monday, January 16, 2006

Quote: Art as Experience

"Unless there is com-pression there is no ex-pression."
John Dewey

Philip Seymour Hoffman: Interview Part I(update)

I will have part II ready in about 2 or 3 days. But in the meantime I will still blog about other topics so stayed posted....

Check out my list of Best films of 2005. Let me know what you think. Click the link below and check out the trailers for each film:

Films of 2005

Peter Duhon

Friday, January 13, 2006

Philip Seymour Hoffman: Interview Part I

In depth analysis of great art, when handled properly and honestly, often magnifies the sparse details that are felt and appreciated on an emotional level but are often overlooked on a technical and conscious level by most of us(myself). At a screening recently that I attended of CAPOTE, the film now showing in theaters, starring actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was present and the critically acclaimed writer and art scholar, Dr. Annette Insdorf who moderated the event, had an in-depth discussion and interview that took place about CAPOTE and other things in front of a sold-out auditorium of at least two thousand film lovers. This blog will feature essentially some loose excerpts from their discussion and will include some of the audience questions that Philip Hoffman answered. This took place 2 days ago at the auditorium of the 92nd street Y, here in NY, NY. If you have not seen the movie, do not read any futher since I may reveal key parts of the movie.

Some key points:

1. He mentioned that he knew either Ben Miller or Dan Futterman since he was 12. They are the director and producer respectively.

2. The scene in the movie where Truman Capote reads an excerpt from the book in front of an audience in New York, actually took place in the same auditorium where the screening took place the other night. Though the scene was actually shot somewhere other then the 92nd Y since the Y is filled practically every night with different events they could not book it.


Initially, AS(Annette Insdorf) asked about his preparation for the role. PSH(Philip Seymour Hoffman) said 1st part research, tons of research, audio tapes and vhs tapes. 2 or 3 months of initial research and even a time period of denial. PSH mentioned that at first he thought about what he remembered of Truman Capote as a child. As a child he thought of TC as "the odd guy who wrote that spooky book(In Cold Blood)," and he remembered seeing him on talk shows. He also had a "gut instinct" that him and TC(Truman Capote) had something in common though he could not put his finger quite on it. Perhaps it had to do with age he said. Being at a certain age and feeling lost, not sure where you are or what's next. A couple of times, PSH got together with Ben and Dan and others and PSH felt that he was struggling with the part and Ben would say "don't despair." PSH said he started to understand and grasp "the personal attachment of the story." The need for it(personal attachment), the love of it and the betrayal of it."

AS asked him about how they were able to capture "the quietness of the film, the unsaid rather then the stated?" PSH credited the director and his "highly skilled filmed making." "The way it was shot." Ben captured the private tragedy of a public persona. It was purposely done and he was not even aware of that. He mentioned Ben's "probing eye." There is a scene were TC stands in front of a house and you actually see TC through the door and you see his personal hunger. You see TC "exposed and vulnerable."

Check back later(48 hours) for more information and coverage from art comments about this interview.

If you enjoyed this article you may also like a review that I wrote about the monumental performance give by the Brad Mehldau Trio at the Village Vanguard. Click the link below to read the review:

Brad Mehldau Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard Part I

Feel free to post any comments. They are welcome!

Peter Duhon

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Announcement: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Tonight I will be attending a screening of Capote here in New York and Philip Seymour is scheduled to be there. I will "blogit" tomorrow. Check back for further details. A couple of weeks back I listed Capote as one of my films of the 2005. Click the link below to go there.

Films of 2005

Peter Duhon

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Apple Computer: Major Announcements

Later on today, CEO Steve Jobs will make several major announcements involving apple computer. This is big news for the millions of people who own ipods, electronic companies who play second fiddle to Mr. Jobs, Microsoft, Sony and others will be watching to see what Mr. Jobs has up his sleeve.

Even for non-apple(mac) users, this announcement as serious implications, since companies that compete with apple(Dell, HP and Microsoft among others often release products and software that imitate Apple's.

What might happen later on today:

1. Apple releases a new line computers with an intel processor that will compete directly with the traditional TV and cable providers.
2. New ipod with bigger screen(horizontal) and better battery life and more memory.
3. New deals with content providers that will allow the online itunes store to resemble your local blockbuster video store.
4. New laptop computers.
5. I suspect that apple will release some new software as well. Page layout software and internet publishing software. Many websites have been ranting about a possible iweb.

The announcements are also huge considering their affect on the creative community. Check back in a couple of hours for my thoughts on Apple's announcements that will take place later on today.

-Peter Duhon

Monday, January 09, 2006

After Hours at the Guggenheim Museum

There was a celebration at the Guggenheim Museum. This exhibit ends Jan 11.

RUSSIA! Guggenheim Museum

This past friday I was privileged to see the "Russia!" exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum here in New York. The exhibition of Russian heart dated back as far as 1200 A.D up to this century. A lot of ground was covered and I was impressed. Enjoy the photos. More later.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Monday September 26 23:41:17 2005


I just saw KJ tonight at Carnegie Hall, solo. The show
was really amazing. I am speechless right now but as I
digest it I will write you more in the future about

Thanks for the book recommendation. I will look it up
most definitely.

Also, august 5th I saw brad perform solo in central
park. Brad is something else himself. Brad essentially
played standards and some familiar songs:
Countdown(john Coltrane), Chopin's Etude 4, The folks
who live on the hill, Paranoid android(nick drake). He
played some others and they all had a unique brad
twist to them. If you can see Brad or Keith solo I
STRONGLY recommend it. They are different but both
strongly gifted and beautifully musicians.

How was Amsterdam? Brad has a CD entitled "Places" He
wrote a song title Amsterdam and it is a great tune.

I would recommend Gary Peacock's "Tales of another"
which is a trio with Keith at the piano. It is some
great music. It is easy to see why Keith later formed
his long standing "standards trio" with peacock at
bass. On this album it is obvious that they are having
fun and making some great music.....


Thursday, January 05, 2006


There was a cruical omission in my previous list of films, and that is the outstanding and encouraging film, thumbsucker directed by Mike Mills. More later...

Visit my list of must see movies from 2005. Click the link below:

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sequence of Emotions

"Let it be the feelings that bring about events. Not the other way."

-Robert Bresson

Other relevant posts:
6 Winter Films: 2006
Matisse Quote

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Women in White: Critical Response

Apparently, the New York Times doesn't agree with my review of Women in White, writing in this past friday's edition "latest offering from Andrew Lloyd Webber, seems to exist entirely in two dimensions, from its computer-generated backdrops to its decorative chess-piece-like characters." They do not seem too impressed. Oh, well. Its a great show and I hope some of the readers of Art Comments go and see it.

Robert Bresson said it best, "Hostility to art is also hostility to the new, to the unforeseen."

Upcoming events: January 2006

Jan. 3rd, Saxophonist Joel Frahm will be performing at The Bar Next Door, from 8pm to 11pm. (212) 529-5945, NY, NY.

January 10 - January 15. Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinthel will be at the Village Vanguard performing with
Mark Turner-sax, Aaron Goldberg-p,
Joe Martin-b, Eric Harland-d---NY, NY

January 13th, 2006 Jazz pianist Robert Glasper will be at Joe's Pub, NY, NY.

January 12th, 2006 Jazz pianist Bill Charlap and his trio will be performing at Symphony Space (Blue Note Live event), NY, NY.

Jan. 27th Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau will be performing solo Verizon Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Jan 15 Tord Gustavsen Trio- Sydney, Australia

Jan 27 Tord Gustavsen Trio- Rouen, France

Jan 28 Tord Gustavsen Trio- Bordeaux Festival Les Musiques de Nuits, Bordeaux, France

Jan 24 András Schiff Salzburg, Austria

Jan 20 Trio Mediaeval Amsterdam, Netherlands

Monday, January 02, 2006

Cezanne: A Modern Master

Key figure in art history who promoted the idea that the painting on a canvas is a new creation, a creation that is living, separate from the reality that it may or might not represent. In other words, the canvas combined with the creativity of the individual artist becomes the reality itself. The reality of the canvas is not dependent on exact represention of an object but rather it is dependent on the creativity of the artist to create something that is independent of any real world object yet the new reality breathes all on it own.