Acclaimed jazz pianist Brad Mehldau and singer/mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile (Punch Brothers) perform as a duo in a very rare evening with two of America’s most groundbreaking young musicians. Both artists are inspired by a wide range of composers and songwriters, from Bach to Radiohead, and the duo will explore the beauty and intricacies of form and improvisation via a variety of their favorite tunes and original compositions. The Guardian said of a recent London performance by Mehldau and Thile: “Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right brought the house down through Thile’s sympathetic singing and increasingly animated improv-swapping between the pair. The two ought to have got under each other’s feet, given the thinness of the mandolin’s sound, and their mutual appetite for blizzards of notes. But their musicality and sympathy for each other’s emerging ideas, made it an unexpected tour de force.”
One of the most lyrical and intimate voices of contemporary jazz piano, Brad Mehldau has forged a unique path, which embodies the essence of jazz exploration, classical romanticism, and pop allure. From critical acclaim as a bandleader and solo artist to major international exposure in collaborations with Pat Metheny, Anne Sofie von Otter, Renee Fleming, and Joshua Redman, Mehldau continues to garner numerous awards and admiration from both jazz purists and music enthusiasts alike. His forays into melding musical idioms, in both trio (with Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums) and solo settings, has seen brilliant re-workings of songs by contemporary songwriters like The Beatles, Cole Porter, Radiohead, Paul Simon, George and Ira Gershwin, and Nick Drake, alongside the ever evolving breadth of his own significant catalogue of original compositions. With his affection for popular music and classical training, Mehldau has become “universally admired as one of the most adventurous pianists to arrive on the jazz scene in years (Los Angeles Times).” His three 2011 Nonesuch releases have showcased the facets of his fruitful, ever-evolving career as it enters its second decade: his live solo performances (Live in Marciac); his collaborations with genre-crossing musicians (Modern Music, with composer/pianist Kevin Hays and composer/arranger Patrick Zimmerli); and his trio work (Art of the Trio box set, which includes the five original Art of the Trio albums released on Warner Bros. over a prolific four year period from 1997 to 2001). The Brad Mehldau Trio’s latest recording, Ode, will be released in the spring of 2012.
Chris Thile, of Punch Brothers, has changed the mandolin forever, elevating it from its origins as a relatively simple folk and bluegrass instrument to the sophistication and brilliance of the finest jazz improvisation and classical performance. For more than 15 years, Thile played in the wildly popular band Nickel Creek, with whom he released three albums and sold two million records and was awarded a Grammy in 2002. Recently, Nonesuch Records released the Grammy–nominated Sleep with One Eye Open, an impassioned collaboration/conversation between Thile and guitarist Michael Daves, in which the upstart duo acknowledges the history and tradition of bluegrass while exuberantly defying convention. They perform as part of Lincoln Center’s prestigious American Songbook series in January 2012. Thile also recently collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma for The Goat Rodeo Sessions. As a soloist he has released four albums, as well as performing and recording extensively as a duo with double bass virtuoso Edgar Meyer and with fellow eminent mandolinist Mike Marshall. He has also collaborated with a pantheon of bluegrass innovators including Bela Fleck, Dolly Parton, the Dixie Chicks, Jerry Douglas, and Sam Bush. Punch Brothers release their new album, Who’s Feeling Young Now?, February 14, 2012, on Nonesuch Records. Completed over three weeks at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, the record was produced by Grammy Award winner Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Tom Waits, Modest Mouse).