REVIEW: Brad Mehldau/Anne Sofie von Otter: Love Songs

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Friday November 19, 2010

From the Guardian UK

Brad Mehldau/Anne Sofie von Otter: Love Songs
By John Fordham

With a repertoire that includes songs by Elvis Costello and Abba, mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter isn’t a stranger to non-operatic fare. Brad Mehldau is a classical pianist turned jazz star who maintains close connections with his roots, as this year’s Highway Rider eloquently confirms. Half of this double album features Mehldau’s own song-cycle of the title, the other is a multilingual anthology of pieces by Jacques Brel, Michel Legrand, Joni Mitchell and Lennon and McCartney. Mehldau’s seven-song sequence may mean more to devotees of classical lieder than to jazz fans, though Von Otter is a natural and unfussy performer and Mehldau’s humming trills, inquiring countermelodies and River Man-like melodic turns will seem very familiar. The second half lets both artists relax. Von Otter is at ease in the idiom, and Mehldau is bluesy on Richard Rodgers’s Something Good, opulent on Legrand’s Chanson de Maxence, and creates a glossy stride-piano warmth on Walking My Baby Back Home, sung in Swedish. It’s further evidence of Mehldau’s determination to treat this between-worlds music as all part of the same show.

Read the review online here