NPR Reviews Brad Mehldau's "Ten Years Solo Live"

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Monday November 16, 2015


Music Review: ‘Ten Years Solo Live,’ Brad Mehldau
By Tom Moon

“Mehldau does these overhauls on standards and jazz classics like John Coltrane’s “Countdown” and pop anthems of the ’90s like the Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony.” Here’s the moment after he’s been pounding out the chord progression for a while when he decides it’s time to stretch out.

The set includes Mehldau’s vivid re-imaginings of works by the Beatles, Radiohead Brahms and the Thelonious Monk. That’s a wide range of music, yet he never sounds out of his element. He plays Nirvana like it’s Brahms, plays Brahms like it’s Nirvana.

It takes about 300 minutes to listen to this set from start to finish and much longer than that to fully absorb it. Mehldau’s music can be cerebral. But some things come through right away – his fluid technique, his instinct for reframing melodies, his gift for spinning epic narratives out of shards and fragments. Here’s what’s most mind-blowing. He’s doing this live, in the moment, unscripted, in front of an audience.”

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