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Highway Rider

Highway Rider cover art

Track Listing

Click tracks with speaker icon to listen
1.01John Boy3:11
1.02Don't Be Sad8:35
1.03At the Tollbooth1:06
1.04Highway Rider7:42
1.05The Falcon Will Fly Again8:17
1.06Now You Must Climb Alone4:06
1.07Walking the Peak8:00
2.01We'll Cross the River Together12:23
2.03Sky Turning Grey (For Elliott Smith)6:20
2.04Into the City7:34
2.05Old West8:24
2.06Come with Me6:15
2.07Always Departing6:21
2.08Always Returning9:52
3.01Bonus Download: Highway Rider (commentary & demo)9:34

News & Reviews

  • Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana Album "Mehliana: Taming the Dragon" Now on Vinyl

    Mehliana: Taming the Dragon, the debut album from the electric duo of Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana, released late last month on CD and digitally, is now available on vinyl. Mehldau and Guiliana have been performing for several years, with Mehldau playing Fender Rhodes and synthesizers and Guiliana on drums and effects, as they are on the record. Mehliana comprises 12 original tunes—six written by the duo and six written by Mehldau—and was engineered and mixed by Greg Koller (Jon Brion, Kanye West). The vinyl edition includes two 140-gram LPs pressed at Pallas MFG in Diepholz, Germany, and a CD of the album. 

  • Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana's "Mehliana: Taming the Dragon" Electric Duo Debut Out Now

    Mehliana: Taming the Dragon, the debut album from the electric duo of Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana, is out now on Nonesuch Records (March 18 on vinyl). The album is "astonishing," exclaims Jazzwise magazine, "one of the best albums of 2014." Mehliana earns four stars from the Guardian and from MusicOMH, which calls it "wholly absorbing ... an intuitive, compelling dialogue between the two musicians." Tune in to BBC Radio 2's Jamie Cullum tonight to hear an interview with Mehldau. Watch a performance of the album track "Sleeping Giant" here.

About this Album

Nonesuch Records released Highway Rider—a double-disc of original work by pianist and composer Brad Mehldau—on March 16, 2010. The album is his second collaboration with renowned producer Jon Brion and features performances by Mehldau’s trio—drummer Jeff Ballard and bassist Larry Grenadier—as well as drummer Matt Chamberlain, saxophonist Joshua Redman, and a chamber orchestra led by Dan Coleman. Mehldau also orchestrated and arranged the album’s 15 pieces for the ensemble.

In a Nonesuch Store Exclusive, orders of the album through include—in addition to the complete album as audiophile-quality 320 kbps MP3s—a bonus download demo track Mehldau recorded for Brion early on in the album's development, in which Mehldau explains how he'd like for the title track to unfold and offers a run-through on piano.

Although Brad Mehldau is best known as a jazz composer and improviser, he has written several long-form compositions and songs, including an orchestral piece called The Brady Bunch Variations for the Orchestre National d’Île-de-France and two Carnegie Hall commissions: Love Songs for mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and Love Sublime for soprano Renée Fleming.

“It’s so exciting to write something and have it in your head and then hear it for the first time being played by these magnificent musicians,” he says. “It’s really an emotional experience. I’m still reeling from it.”

“For me, the biggest challenge was the orchestration—which notes to assign to what instruments. I’ve been studying lots of orchestral scores for a while now—Strauss, Brahms, Tchaikovsky; a lot of big romantic stuff in particular. But while I was writing, I was also listening closely to modern orchestrators and arrangers, and there are two who have made an impact on me especially—François Rauber in his work with Jacques Brel, and Bob Alcivar in his work with Tom Waits.”

Jon Brion also produced Mehldau’s 2002 album Largo, and Mehldau had been hoping to work with him again since then. “I knew from working with Jon on Largo that he was the guy who would find a way to put all the pieces together for this project. It was really quite a beast sonically at some points—two drummers playing at the same time, bass, sax, and piano, and then the orchestra on top of that. I wanted to record everything live whenever possible but wasn’t sure if we could do it. The first conversation with Jon about the music, that was for him a done deal—it had to be live, with the orchestra and the jazz group playing together. Jon had the foresight during the recording, and then a great deal of craft during the mixing, to bring it all together and sound like it does. And we were able to avoid what the conductor Dan Coleman jokingly referred to as ‘disco strings’—that is, adding the orchestra onto the jazz group’s performance after the fact.”

Largo was a step in a new direction for the pianist, incorporating horns, strings, vibes, and electronic instruments—as well as Brion’s unique production touches. As Brion points out, though, “This time around—having done these classical things of late, and these different commissioned pieces he’s had to write—was a completely different thing. It’s like, ‘OK, I know what I learned from doing that last one. This time I have a specific angle.’”


Brad Mehldau, piano (CD1:1-5, 7; CD2:1-6, 8), pump organ (CD1:2; CD2:3), Yamaha CS-80 (CD1:4), orchestral bells (CD1:7; CD2:1, 8); handclaps (CD2:2)
Jeff Ballard, percussion (CD1:1, 5; CD2:2), snare brush (CD1:2), drums (CD1:7; CD2:1, 4, 6, 8); handclaps (CD2:2)
Joshua Redman, soprano saxophone (CD1:1, 5; CD2:2, 8), tenor saxophone (CD1:2, 7; CD2:1, 3, 5); handclaps (CD2:2)
Larry Grenadier, bass (CD1:2, 4, 7; CD2:1, 3, 4, 6, 8); handclaps (CD2:2)
Matt Chamberlain, drums (CD1:2, 4, 5, 7, 8; CD2:2, 3); handclaps (CD2:2)
Orchestra, Dan Coleman, conductor (CD1:1, 2, 6, 7; CD2:1, 7, 8)
Brad, Josh, Dan, Matt, Jeff, and special guests The Fleurettes, la la la vocals (CD1:5)

Produced by Jon Brion
Engineered by Gregg Koller
Mixed by Gregg Koller and Jon Brion
Pro Tools Engineer: Eric Caudieux
Mastered by Alan Yoshida
Recorded, mixed, and mastered February 16–28 and May 12–19, 2009, at Ocean Way Studios, Hollywood, CA

All music composed, arranged, and orchestrated by Brad Mehldau
Copyists: Suzie Katayama, Dwight Mikkelsen, Kirby Furlong, Elizabeth Kinnon, Caryn Rasmussen, Victor Sagerquist

Graphic Design by Lawrence Azerrad
Cover photograph: “Drive-In Theatre, Las Vegas, 1987,” by Richard Misrach, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery and Marc Selwyn Fine Arts

Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz

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