Times (UK): Brad Mehldau Trio "In Perfect Accord" at London's Barbican
Brad Mehldau has kicked off the European leg of his fall tour with his Trio, featuring Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums, which also includes a few, select duo dates with label mate Joshua Redman. Earlier this week, the Trio performed at London's Barbican, which both The Times (UK) and The Guardian give four stars.
"Sometimes you can tell within a bar or two of the start of a concert if it is going to be a good, even a great, evening," reasons Alyn Shipton of The Times. "From the opening left-hand phrases of Brad Mehldau's 'Dream Sketch' there wasn't a finger out of place in two hours of music-making. This was a trio whose members were in perfect accord with one another ... [T]he trio thinks and breathes as one."
Shipton calls attention to the group's "delicate ballad version" of the Rodgers & Hammerstein tune "Something Good," from The Sound of Music, which, he says, "had the intensity of the very greatest jazz trios." While references to Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett could be heard, "the shimmering climax, achieved by rippling right-hand runs over endlessly repeated left-hand chords was vintage Mehldau, a sound that only he can achieve."
By the set's end, Shipton concludes, "the trio had demonstrated a level of telepathic co-operation rare not only in jazz, but music of any sort."
Read the full review at entertainment.timesonline.co.uk.
In The Guardian's four-star review, John Fordham admits: "Every time pianist Brad Mehldau comes to the UK and opens the door on his private world—of sidelong waltzes, sambas or camouflaged blues, and casual improvised counterpoint—I get pulled in." The many nuances of Brad's performance, he says, "become hypnotic invitations to let go of everything else in your head." Read more at guardian.co.uk.
Metro's Mike Butler prepped for the Barbican show with a look at the Trio's recent Live release from Nonesuch. He the unconventional song selection on the record is fitting for the man "universally acknowledged as the best jazz pianist of his generation." The Trio's take on Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun," for instance, shows "Mehldau revealing the full beauty of the tune ... Mehldau absolutely goes for it, but is never so far out that he can't gracefully return to peace and sanity."
Butler echoes Shipton's sentiments when he concludes: "The empathy between Mehldau and long-serving trio members Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard is marvelous ... [T]he Brad Mehldau Trio is the quintessential modern piano outfit."
The article can be found at metro.co.uk.
For info on Brad's upcoming tour dates, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.