Brad Mehldau Knows Where He's Going, But Finds Freedom In The Journey

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Monday June 27, 2011

From the Montreal Gazette

Brad Mehldau knows where he’s going, but finds freedom in the journey
By Adam Kinner

Listen to the first few moments of Brad Mehldau’s most recent solo record, Live in Marciac, and you’ll hear a striking rhythmic figure, barrelling impossibly fast down the keyboard. It’s an impressive passage – one that leaves many pianists with their jaws on the ground. For Mehldau, it’s just an introduction.

And yet, here’s a pianist who needs no introduction. Mehldau has been making ear-catching records and touring with an influential jazz trio since his mid-20s. Now in his early 40s, he shows no sign of slowing down or settling into anything too comfortable. His classically trained precision combined with an easygoing feeling for the blues sets him apart, and his voracious appetite for new music keeps him busy, to say the least.

Approaches to solo performance vary as much as pianists do. There’s Keith Jarrett’s seminal example, in which he improvises languidly through loosely composed songs, settling into hypnotic blues revelations from time to time. He favours the emotive over the rigorous, and his greatest successes come in moments of hot pursuit.

Read the entire review here