Brad Mehldau, At the Crossroads of Jazz and Classical

< Back

Monday November 01, 2010

from the Star Tribune

The SPCO hops on board pianist Brad Mehldau’s “Highway Rider” for weekend concerts at the Walker.
By Graydon Royce

Symphonic jazz? Jazz classical? Jazz/pop/minimalism? Pianist Brad Mehldau has built a career on mixing musical styles and influences into something celebrated as distinctly original.

He has put that aesthetic to particular work in his newest album “Highway Rider,” a piece that flexes Mehldau’s composing muscles as much as it does his jazz piano acumen. A familiar presence to Twin Cities music aficionados, Mehldau gives the album its live premiere this week with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and his own quintet, featuring tenor saxophone star Joshua Redman. The performances at Walker Art Center are in advance of a New York debut Nov. 9.

Chris Brown, SPCO’s principal bass, was listening to the Mehldau CD when a reporter called last week. Brown considers Mehldau’s style a blend. Certainly it is jazz-based, but Brown also heard pop motifs (“I hear a lot of Beatles in the first two songs”) and quite a bit of texturing that mixed diverse styles and instrumental voices.

Read the entire article here