Highway Rider

Submitted by nonesuch on Tue, 12/22/2009 - 10:33
genre
Release Date
DescriptionExcerpt

This double-disc of original work by Mehldau reunites the pianist/composer with producer Jon Brion for the first time since Largo. Featured are performances by Mehldau’s trio, drummer Matt Chamberlain, saxophonist Joshua Redman, and a chamber orchestra, with orchestrations by Mehldau. The New York Times calls it "his grandest effort yet" joining classical and jazz. The Guardian says it's "the real deal." Nonesuch Store orders include an exclusive bonus demo MP3 Mehldau made for Brion.

Description

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 nonesuch.com 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.’”

ProductionCredits

PRODUCTION CREDITS
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

Nonesuch Selection Number

518655

Number of Discs in Set
2discs
Album Status
Artist Name
Brad Mehldau
MusicianDetails

MUSICIANS
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)

Cover Art
UPC/Price
Label
CD+MP3
UPC
075597982701BUN
Label
MP3
Price
14.00
UPC
075597979749
  • 518655

News & Reviews

  • The members of the legendary original 1990s Joshua Redman Quartet—Redman, Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride, and Brian Blade—who reunited after twenty-six years for the 2020 album RoundAgain, return now with LongGone, out now. The new album features original Redman compositions from the RoundAgain recording sessions, plus a live performance “Rejoice,” captured by SFJAZZ at the San Francisco Jazz Festival. "Musical soulmates reunite to stunning effect," the Guardian exclaims, naming LongGone its Jazz Album of the Month.

  • The New York Philharmonic has announced the lineups for the first two installments of The 65th Street Session, a NY Phil presentation curated by Chris Thile, its 2022–23 Creative Partner, in the Wu Tsai Theater of Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall: Thile with Brad Mehldau and Tune-Yards on October 11 and with Punch Brothers, Watchhouse, and Sarah Jarosz, as part of their American Acoustic Tour, on December 6. Fan pre-sale is on now with code 65THSTREET. General on-sale begins September 13. Lineups and ticket info for the final two performances, February 14 and March 28, 2023, will be announced at a later date.

Buy Now

  • 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 nonesuch.com 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.’”

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    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)

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    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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