Review: Guardian - Where Do You Start

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Friday September 14, 2012


By: John Fordham

American pianist Brad Mehldau has explored many styles and partnerships since his emergence in the early 1990s, but most of his recordings have been for an acoustic trio ‘” drummer Jeff Ballard joined bassist Larry Grenadier from 2005 ‘” and the lineup always feels like home for him.Last spring, they recorded an all-original album, Ode. This set features 10 covers, including Elvis Costello and Cait O’Riordan’s Baby Plays Around, Jimi Hendrix’s Hey Joe and Nick Drake’s Time Has Told Me. Mehldau creates fascinating detours and slow-changing moods and motifs in his improvisations on Sufjan Stevens’ Holland and Baby Plays Around. But he cuts dazzlingly loose on Clifford Brown’s Brownie Speaks and Sonny Rollins’s Airegin. Hey Joe could have been shorter, and the later tracks (with a growing Latin-jazz presence) have something of a business-as-usual feel. But the dynamics and empathy of this ensemble remain pretty

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