Brad Mehldau Trio | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | Jazz | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Fri., April 18, 7 p.m. 2014
Price: $32, $30 for members
Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau has frequently gravitated toward nonstandard contexts—an art-pop collaboration with Jon Brion, for instance, or an electric duo called Mehliana with drummer Mark Guiliana, which just released its dense, funky debut, Taming the Dragon. But he’s done his best work with the fleet trio of bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, which in 2012 released two albums on Nonesuch that may be the finest in the pianist’s sizable discography. Ode consists of original material, while Where Do You Start is dominated by eclectic covers: jazz standards (Clifford Brown’s “Brownie Speaks,” Sonny Rollins’s “Airegin”), recent pop tunes by Sufjan Stevens, Elvis Costello, and even Alice in Chains (“Got Me Wrong”), and lyrical Brazilian gems by Chico Buarque and Toninho Horta. On both recordings Mehldau sticks to his introspective, harmonically probing style, but he’s never sounded so succinct and focused—there’s less of the moody wanderlust that’s occasionally made his aesthetic sound more sleepy than intimate. It helps that his rhythm section understands so well what he’s trying to do—sometimes they bolster him, and sometimes they shake him up. —Peter Margasak


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