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Mehldau's "Highway Rider" Rates an A- from Boston Herald, Pick of the Week from WNYC's "Soundcheck"

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Friday March 26, 2010

Brad Mehldau’s latest Nonesuch release has been named a Soundcheck CD Pick of the Week by New York public radio station WNYC. The album “shows the jazz pianist’s chops in an art usually dominated by classical composers,” says Soundcheck’s Gisele Regatao. “The title of Brad Mehldau’s album is as cinematographic as the music: Highway Rider.”

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The Boston Herald gives Highway Rider an A-. Reviewer Kevin R. Convey suggests that on the new album, “Mehldau’s aim seems to be nothing less than the integration of chamber music and jazz, a goal he pretty much achieves …, while delivering some of the most tender and least-flashy piano playing of his career.”

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The Ottawa Citizen gives the album four stars. Reviewer Peter Hum says “there are so many crests, detours and rewards that an open-minded, attentive listener may want to hit Mehldau’s musical road again immediately.”

Hum recognizes Mehldau’s latest creation as a departure from much of what listeners may have come to expect from the pianist-composer, “except that it too is riveting.”

In fact, not only does the new album stand apart from the Mehldau catalog, it may stand alone even in a broader context. “There’s probably not another jazz recording that sounds quite like it,” Hum writes, “although Mehldau, an eclectic devotee of everything from Brahms to the Beatles to bebop to Nirvana, might find the genre classification of Highway Rider beside the point.”

The reviewer suggests that listeners “allow themselves to be spellbound by the new and unknown — not such a difficult task, really — it’s a better journey that way.”