Brad Mehldau Trio's "Where Do You Start" Out Now, "A New Prime Phase in His Career" (BBC)
The Brad Mehldau Trio’s latest album, Where Do You Start, a companion disc to this spring’s critically acclaimed Ode, is out now. Whereas Ode featured 11 songs composed by Mehldau, Where Do You Start comprises the Trio’s interpretations of ten tunes by other composers—including Sufjan Stevens, Elvis Costello, Sonny Rollins, and Nick Drake—along with one Mehldau original.
Where Do You Start has been met with great critical acclaim, earning four stars from the Guardian, Independent on Sunday, Times of London, Daily Telegraph, and Audiophile Audition and a perfect five out of five stars from the Financial Times, with BBC Music saying it "points to Mehldau entering a new prime phase in his career." The New York Daily News includes Where Do You Start among the top CD picks of the week.
"Brad Mehldau never lets his peerless technique and meticulous timing interrupt the narrative flow of a well-told tale," writes the Financial Times' Mike Hobart in his five-star review of the new album. "Here, the pianist and his trio burrow deep into left-field pop and the American songbook, and give an adventurous sheen to modern jazz." Read the complete Financial Times review at ft.com.
"Mehldau creates fascinating detours and slow-changing moods and motifs in his improvisations on Sufjan Stevens' 'Holland' and 'Baby Plays Around,'" explains the Guardian's John Fordham, who concludes that "the dynamics and empathy of this ensemble remain pretty irresistible." Read the four-star review at guardian.co.uk.
Where Do You Begin earns four stars from the Independent on Sunday as well. "There's not a duff track or dull moment in this 75 minutes of studio material," writes the paper's Phil Johnson, who deems it "the perfect digest of this trio's talents ... Mehldau is the man."
The Times of London's reviewer John Bungey, in his four-star review, concurs, saying the album "is as good a place to start as any if you want to imbibe his special brand of reflective lyricism and the subtle interplay of his current trio."
The album is reviewed on today's edition of NPR's Fresh Air. "The pianist builds his improvisation like a master storyteller," says Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead. "He keeps you hanging in to
see how the next twist resolves, then brings you back just when you think he's lost you. His left hand supplies just enough atmosphere to color the tale."
Audiophile Audition gives Where Do You Start another four stars. "This iteration of the trio has established its bona fides some time ago as a thoughtful exponent of contemporary American music," writes reviewer Pierre Giroux. "Brad Mehldau has never been short on technique and his trio always plays with delicate self-assurance ... This is a stylish and nimble effort delivered with imagination."
All About Jazz managing editor John Kelman says the album "is further evidence—as if any were needed—of this tremendous trio's ability to take any material—old, new, borrowed or original—and make it firmly its own."
To pick up a copy of Where Do You Start as CD, MP3, or FLAC, head to the Nonesuch Store, where CD orders include MP3s of the complete album at checkout.