Brad Mehldau Trio – Ode

January 01, 1970

(Nonesuch)

 

www.nonesuch.com

 

In the seven years that passed since the release
of his last Trio studio album in 2006 with House On Hill (not
discounting their 2008 live LP), acclaimed jazz pianist Brad Mehldau has spread
his wings as a soloist (2011’s Live in Marciac), co-leader on recordings
from some of the genre’s most prominent names including Pat Metheny and the
great Lee Konitz, sideman for the likes of Israeli saxophonist Eli Degibri and
bassist Joe Martin and sonic adventurer with 2010’s Highway Rider, his second
collaboration with producer Jon Brion.

 

But 2012 finds the Jacksonville native returning
to the consort of his longtime associates Larry Grenadier (bass) and Jeff
Ballard (drums) with the gorgeous Ode, perhaps the trio’s finest work
beyond the concert stage (which was prominently showcased via Nonesuch’s
anthology box set of the BMT’s Art of the Trio Village Vanguard series
late last year featuring former drummer Jorge Rossy, who left the fold in
2005). Produced by Mehldau at Avatar Studios in his adopted
hometown of New York City,
these 11 new tracks are comprised from previously unreleased compositions the
piano man has been sitting on for some time, culled from two separate sessions
from 2008 and 2011 respectively.

 

Much of the ado about Mehldau tends to stem from
his uncanny ability to transform the music of The Beatles, Radiohead, Nirvana,
Soundgarden and Nick Drake into beautiful pieces of instrumental piano jazz in
addition to his homages to such personal heroes of his craft as Thelonious Monk
and Bill Evans. Ode continues to find the pianist drawing inspiration
from others. Only this time it comes from the context of his own prowess as an
original composer in his own right, paying his respects to such comrades,
characters and compatriots as late saxophone great Michael Brecker (“M.B.”),
Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider (“Wyatt’s Eulogy for George Hanson”),  Aquaman and guitarist Kurt Ronsenwinkel
(“Kurt Vibe”) with some of the trio’s most fiery interplay to date. A most
welcome return.

 

DOWNLOAD: “M.B.”, “Wyatt’s Eulogy for
George Hanson”, “Kurt Vibe” RON HART (www.irtmag.com)

 

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