Amazing, creatively brilliant, just a few words that describe pianist Brad Mehldau's approach to music as a soloist or with his jazz trio. This approach was clearly evident tonight at the Village Vanguard, as Brad produced music of mystic qualities with his trio which consists of Jeff Ballard on drums and Larry Grenediar on upright bass.
Olympian status is definitely a goal of any musican(s), last night's performance proved that Brad and his trio are not only on a high Olympian level but that they deserve a gold medal. But who said that it is a contest? Well, let's talk directly about the show and not talk around it.
The acoustic trio started with a rendition of Paul Simon's "50 ways to Leave Your Lover," which the bassist Larry Grenediar played a solo mid-tempo intro. After Larry played solo for about a couple of minutes, Jeff Ballard, the drummer joined along with the groove. Thereafter Brad followed and joined in as well. The trio on this song displayed a light touch yet played at a fast tempo. Brad Mehldau's trademark mastery of the left hand was also evident but with a thematic purpose. Essentially, the unison and intrinsic flow that was displayed on this song was a gleam of what would happen on all of the songs the entire night. Every note had a purpose and every note was deeply meaningful. The entire set was approached symphonically with an emphasis on the whole development of the meaning of the particular song being played instead of having the emphasis on displaying individual virtuoso talents.
Sometimes at different jazz events you get the feeling that the songs played by the musicians are over worked or too estoric. But not with this trio, hearing them play you actually feel the music in a positive and genuine way, not too overwhelming like some other trios. Larry Grenediar not only started the song with his bass intro but ended this song with a bass solo as well. After the song, the positive energy that would permeate the whole night was evident by the energetic applause and loud shots of approval by everyone including my self.
Visit my other blog page for more information about this great set.
I have written out a list of recommended recordings and breif review of each recording. It is in no way a complete list considering Brad's prolific output. Though my list is a valuable resource if you are new to his music.
A visit to Brad Mehldau's website is essential. Brad happens to also be a poignant writer so visit the site and listen to some samples of his music, view some of his videos and read some of his liner notes as well.