A two-disc, specially priced package recorded at the Village Vanguard over four nights in October 2006, from sets described by the New York Times as "a model of concentration and restraint." The 2-1/2 hours of material include originals plus covers of tunes by John Coltrane, Chico Buarque, Oasis, and Soundgarden.
Nonesuch released two-disc set Live by the Brad Mehldau Trio—pianist Mehldau, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Jeff Ballard—in March 2008. The album was recorded by the group the New York Times calls “a graceful and sonorous acoustic jazz combo” at The Village Vanguard in October 2006. Mehldau previously recorded two albums, 1998’s Live at The Village Vanguard, The Art of the Trio Volume Two and 1999’s The Art of the Trio Volume Four, Back at The Vanguard, at the famed New York jazz club.
Live includes five original tunes by Mehldau, as well as interpretations of songs by composers as diverse as jazz legends Jimmy Heath and John Coltrane, Brazilian singer/songwriter Chico Buarque, and rock musicians Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Noel Gallagher of Oasis. Also included is the standard tune “The Very Thought of You,” written by Ray Noble and made famous by Nat King Cole, and “More Than You Know,” from the Edward Eliscu, Billy Rose, and Vincent Youmans Broadway show, Great Day!
Released simultaneously as an all-MP3 album, available only at nonesuch.com, is The Complete Friday Night Sets, taken from the three sets of their Vanguard tenure's Friday night. The takes of "Fit Cat" and "Secret Beach" on Live also appear on The Complete Friday Night Sets digital album.
A 2007 DownBeat cover story rhetorically asks, “He’s developed one of the most distinctive instrumental voices in jazz. He’s redefined the rhythmic possibilities of a trio. He’s opened up the songbooks of Radiohead and Nick Drake to the jazz canon. Is Brad Mehldau the most influential jazz musician of his generation?”
Within the first decade of his career as a bandleader, Mehldau had released ten critically acclaimed albums on Warner Bros. Included among those are five volumes of his Art of the Trio series with Grenadier and the group’s previous drummer, Jorge Rossy; a classically inspired solo studio disc, Elegiac Cycle; and Largo, an experimental outing with producer Jon Brion that introduced electronic and subtle pop elements into Mehldau’s approach.
His solo Nonesuch debut, Brad Mehldau Live in Tokyo, was released in 2004, followed by a trio record, Day is Done, in 2005—which introduced the group’s new drummer, Jeff Ballard. In 2006, the label released a pair of albums—House on Hill, featuring all original compositions (played by the trio of Mehldau/Grenadier/Rossy), and Love Sublime, an album of songs he wrote for—and performed with—soprano Renee Fleming. Later that year, the first of Mehldau’s collaborations with his label-mate, guitarist Pat Metheny, was released. Metheny Mehldau, which was named Best Jazz Album in DownBeat’s annual reader’s poll,was followed with a second collaboration featuring Mehldau’s trio and Metheny—Metheny Mehldau Quartet. The same reader’s poll also named Mehldau Best Acoustic Pianist.
Produced by Brad Mehldau
This music was recorded live at The Village Vanguard in New York City on October 11-15, 2006.
Recorded by James Farber, Tim Martyn, and Rick Jacobsohn
Mixed by James Farber at Sear Sound, NYC
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, NYC
Design by John Gall
Photography by Michael Wilson
Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz
Brad Mehldau, piano
Larry Grenadier, bass
Jeff Ballard, drums