Acclaim for Where Do You Start

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Thursday September 27, 2012

‘The title is an apt one if you’re a newcomer to the pianist’s bulging catalogue (18 albums as a leader). In fact this set, largely of covers from across the decades, is as good a place to start as any if you want to imbibe his special brand of reflective lyricism and the subtle interplay of his current trio. While Mehldau can pen a resonant tune, the classic material here makes this a failsafe set. Even an unlikely ‘Hey Joe’ works amid an album that brings the art of the piano trio coolly up-to-date.’ The Times

‘It all points to Mehldau entering a new prime phase in his career, both onstage and in the recording studio.’ BBC Music

‘There are various ways for jazz bands to cover rock songs. Mehldau chooses songs that lend themselves naturally to trio treatment. His version of ‘Hey Joe’ curls around your ears like smoke before you know what it is. Alice In Chains’ ‘Got Me Wrong’ works because Mehldau doubles the rhythm section on the piano, giving it a real kick up the backside.’ Q

‘Mehldau creates fascinating detours and slow-changing moods and motifs in his improvisations on Sufjan Stevens’ ‘Holland’ and [Elvis Costello’s] ‘Baby Plays Around’. But he cuts dazzlingly loose on Clifford Brown’s ‘Brownie Speaks’ and Sonny Rollins’s ‘Airegin’. The dynamics and empathy of this ensemble remain pretty irresistible.’ Guardian

‘Mehldau never lets his peerless technique and meticulous timing interrupt the narrative flow of a well-told tale. Here, the pianist and his trio burrow deep into left-field pop and the American songbook, and give an adventurous sheen to modern jazz. Easy-going rhythms turn dark corners, friendly discourse erupts into violence, and romance is usually bittersweet. Long-term bassist Grenadier adds to the intrigue, drummer Ballard plays a steady hand and compositions by Clifford Brown and Nick Drake capture the eclectic range of covers.’
Financial Times

‘Mehldau just seems to get better and better on this album, and Grenadier and Ballard perfect partners. Mehldau is someone who comes around once in a generation, totally off the scale, and his contribution to jazz, already incalculable, continues to pile up for our enjoyment and greater edification.’

‘There’s not a duff track or dull moment in this 75 minutes of studio material. Tunes by Nick Drake, Elvis Costello and Sufjan Stevens rub shoulders with hard bop and bossa nova, the rock standard ‘Hey Joe’ and Johnny Mandel’s wonderful title track. And then there’s one Mehldau original to form the perfect digest of this trio’s talents. It’s very difficult to carp any more: Mehldau is the man.’ Independent On Sunday

‘Mehldau’s talent leaps into focus. Mehldau has arrived at that happy state where he no longer needs to impress, and though there are technically dazzling moments his playing more often has a Count Basie-ish economy and sly wit.’
Daily Telegraph

‘Listeners who have enjoyed the prolific jazz pianist’s preoccupation with moody rock material will be delighted at Mehldau’s choices here.’ Mojo