Brad Mehldau, Joshua Redman, Timothy Andres to Premiere Mehldau Piece at Carnegie Hall; BBC Calls His New Album "Excellent"
Brad Mehldau and Friends, including Joshua Redman, Timothy Andres, pianist Kevin Hays, a host of saxophonists, and vocalist Becca Stevens, join forces for two performances this weekend, featuring the world premiere of Mehldau's Rock 'n' Roll Dances No. 3 and 4 in a sold-out concert in Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall tonight. The new piece was commissioned by Carnegie Hall, where Mehldau is the holder of the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair for the 2010-11 season. Also on the program is a special performance of excerpts from Andres's Shy and Mighty by Mehldau and the composer.
The artists then head to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to perform the program at the Sanders Theatre Saturday night. In a preview of Saturday's performance, the Boston Globe describes Mehldau as "one of the finest improvising pianists of his generation."
Brad Mehldau's latest Nonesuch release, Live in Marciac, a two-CD-plus-DVD capturing his solo performance at the 2006 Jazz in Marciac festival, has been described as "excellent" in a review by the BBC. "Remarkably, across its length the virtuosity and excitement levels never dip," raves reviewer John Eyles. "After repeated hearings, the music sounds as fresh as ever."
Eyles, marveling at Mehldau's virtuosic and energetic playing, says: "His music is so rich that at times it is possible to believe two players are at work."
To see that all of the music of Live in Marciac has come from Mehldau's two hands alone, look no further than the album's DVD, the first-ever such recording from the pianist.
"Being able to watch Mehldau’s hands, fingers, facial expressions, concentration, effort and sweat enhances the listening experience, providing an intimacy even denied to audience members," Eyles explains. "The DVD also offers the opportunity to see a scrolling transcription of 'Resignation' while Mehldau plays it, making it the cherry on the top of an already excellent album."
Read the complete BBC album review at bbc.co.uk.
All About Jazz also focuses on Mehldau's incredible two-handed skill documented on Live in Marciac. Reviewer John Kelman cites "Mehldau's almost unprecedented left/right hand independence, and single-hand techniques that allow him to accomplish things that would seem impossible for a sole, two-handed pianist."
Examining Mehldau's performance of Nick Drake's "Things Behind the Sun," for example, Kelman says: "Watching his performance of the song on the DVD—beautifully filmed with multiple camera angles that make clear how he what he does, even if it's also enough to send most pianists packing for the hills—is even more thrilling, even for the non-pianists in his fan base."
The new album allows audiences to "see the seemingly impossible feats of two-handed pianism that Mehldau has been honing, in the public eye, for nearly two decades," Kelman concludes. "Live in Marciac stands out as a signpost on Mehldau's evolutionary path, and proves that, far from coasting on the considerable laurels on which he could easily rest, he's continuing to grow as a writer and an interpreter—but, most importantly, as a performer, as he leaps from one significant plateau to the next."
Read the complete review at allaboutjazz.com.
PopMatters describes the album as "100 minutes of pure uninterrupted piano virtuosity." Reviewer John Garratt explains: "By mixing a handful of originals into a set mostly consisting of covers, Brad Mehldau is able to show off the full scope of his sickening talents."
Garratt goes on to describe Live in Marciac as "one of those albums where, prior to hearing it, you may not have been aware of how much control Mehldau has over his instrument. He can make it sing, yawn one moment and totally chop it into pieces the next."
In the end, he concludes: "Brad Mehldau is a soulful interpreter and damn fine pianist. Top tier. If Live in Marciac doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will."
Read the complete review at popmatters.com.
To pick up a copy of the Live in Marciac CD/DVD, head to the Nonesuch Store, where orders include high-quality, 320 kbps MP3s at checkout.