Brad Mehldau's "Imaginative Drive"

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Monday May 06, 2013

From The Los Angeles Times

Review: Brad Mehldau, the Bad Plus push jazz further ahead at UCLA
By: Chris Barton

The night began with Mehldau and his graceful rhythm section of longtime bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, who took over for Jorge Rossy in 2005. The trio locked into the rich, toe-tapping swing of Sam Rivers’ “Beatrice,” which Mehldau dedicated to Haden, who recorded the song with Joe Henderson.

Mehldau built a reputation on unconventional covers from the pop songbook, and this night was no exception, with a playful retake on the Beach Boys’ “Friends” and an impressionistic run at the Beatles’ “And I Love Her,” which developed from tentative, whispered contemplation to an anthemic declaration in a way that mirrored a long, heated romance.

Every shift Mehldau made, his taut rhythm section — which can also be heard with saxophonist Mark Turner in the Fly Trio — was locked behind him, shining brightest on a song that featured a keening, bowed melody from Grenadier and a set-closer that began with broken-hearted blues and stretched ever further behind Mehldau’s imaginative drive.

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