Brad Mehldau/ Mark Guiliana/ Mehliana: Taming the Dragon

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Friday February 21, 2014


Brad Mehldau/ Mark Guiliana/ Mehliana: Taming the Dragon ‘” review
By: John Fordham

Brad Mehldau, master of slow-burning, classically inflected acoustic piano improv, gets down and dirty with Mehliana, the electronics duo he shares with jazz, hip-hop and drum’n‘bass percussionist Mark Guiliana. Mehldau mostly plays old-school synths and Fender Rhodes keys, spinning melodic fragments into distant spaces to be replaced by grouchy low-end hooks and snare patterns, striking chirping treble melodies over chanting children’s voices, planting steady, pop-song chord figures under acoustic themes laced with catlike whines. Tense, jostling pieces such as Hungry Ghost and Just Call Me Nige thinly disguise all the pianist’s familiar improv resourcefulness inside the zooming sound effects, and the remarkable Guiliana balances drum-machine remorselessness with dazzling improv receptivity.

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