Guardian (UK): Blues and Ballads review '" extraordinarily inventive

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Wednesday June 08, 2016


Brad Mehldau Trio: Blues and Ballads review ‘” extraordinarily inventive
By: Dave Gelly

A deceptively sweet-sounding set which, once you cotton on to the pianist’s way of treating a few mainly well-known tunes, is absolutely absorbing. Instead of the usual jazz method of improvising on a tune over and over again, known as ‘playing choruses’, he plays the song with a few variations and then goes into a kind of free meditation on it. And every phrase is a cliffhanger. Probably, only a musician of Mehldau’s extraordinary powers of invention can do this consistently and to such intense effect, but it works for an old R&B tune, a blues by Charlie Parker and a Lennon-McCartney classic, among others. Bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard complete the effect with simplicity and grace.

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