REVIEW: BBC - Mehldau is Entering a New Prime Phase in His Career

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Wednesday September 12, 2012


By: Martin Longley

This is a very swift follow-up to Ode, released only six months earlier. Pianist Mehldau must be making up for lost time, as the present trio has not been as prolifically documented as its previous line-up.

Whereas Ode concentrated on originals, Where Do You Start revives the old Mehldau approach of covering songs from across the decades. The tunes here range from Brownie Speaks and Airegin, penned by trumpeter Clifford Brown and saxophonist Sonny Rollins in the 1950s, up to 2003’s Holland, by Sufjan Stevens. Elsewhere, there are numbers penned by Alice in Chains, Elvis Costello and Nick Drake.

Yet Mehldau’s method is so dominant that everything gravitates towards the trio’s signature sound, lending cohesion to a variegated crop. The opening Got Me Wrong, the Alice in Chains track, imposes a funky lope, sassy and swaggering, full of optimistically strutting spirit; later, a military drumbeat leads Holland through its luminous spaces.

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