Brad Mehldau

Submitted by nonesuch on Thu, 05/29/2008 - 19:06
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Mehldau
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Biography (Excerpt)

Brad Mehldau’s album Jacob’s Ladder features new music that reflects on scripture and the search for God through music inspired by the prog rock he loved as a young adolescent—his gateway to the fusion that eventually led to his discovery of jazz. Featured musicians on the album include label mates Chris Thile and Cécile McLorin Salvant, as well as Mark Guiliana, Becca Stevens, Joel Frahm, and others. Nonesuch Store pre-orders include an exclusive signed, limited-edition print while they last.

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http://www.facebook.com/BradMehldau
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https://twitter.com/bradmehldau
Youtube URL
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6DDE26AB3466DDA8

Nonesuch Records releases Brad Mehldau’s Jacob’s Ladder on March 18, 2022 on CD and digital; a vinyl LP version will be released later in the year (exact date TBD). The album features new music that reflects on scripture and the search for God through music inspired by the prog rock Mehldau loved as a young adolescent, which was his gateway to the fusion that eventually led to his discovery of jazz. Featured musicians on the album include Mehldau’s label mates Chris Thile and Cécile McLorin Salvant, as well as Mark Guiliana, Becca Stevens, Joel Frahm, and others. A video for ‘maybe as his skies are wide’ is available now. The song builds off an interpolation of one portion of Rush’s classic “Tom Sawyer.” Nonesuch Store pre-orders include an exclusive signed, limited-edition print.

Mehldau explains, “We are born close to God, and as we mature, we invariably move further and further away from Him on account of our ego. Jacob’s Ladder begins at that place closer to God with the voice of child, and then moves into the world of action. God is always there, but in our discovery and conquest, and all the joys and sorrows they bring, we may lose sight of him. He sets a ladder before us though, like in Jacob’s dream, and we climb towards him, to find reconciliation with ourselves, to stitch up all those worldly wounds and finally heal. The record ends with my vision of heaven—once again as a child, His child, in eternal grace, in ecstasy.

“The musical conduit on the record is prog,” Mehldau continues. “Prog—progressive rock—was the music of my childhood, before I discovered jazz. It matched the fantasy and science fiction books I read from C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle and others at that time, aged ten through twelve. It was my gateway to the fusion of Miles Davis, Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra and other groups, which in turn was the gateway to more jazz. Jazz shared with prog a broader expressive scope and larger-scale ambitions than the rock music I had known already.

“The prog from Rush, Gentle Giant, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer here only hints at the genre’s conceptual, compositional and emotional range. These bands and others have continued to influence newer groups that bring prog impulses into the arena of hard rock and screaming math metal, like Periphery, whose music is included here, and also inspired the screaming vocals on ‘Herr und Knecht.’ I tried to avoid a direct tribute approach to all the songs, and opted in some cases for excerpts, or reworking of themes.”

Although Brad Mehldau is best known as a jazz composer and improviser, he has made several albums that fall outside of the mainstream jazz genre, including his 2001 Largo, produced by Jon Brion. Wide-ranging in texture and big in scale, it features woodwind or brass ensembles are on several tracks, as well as a heavy emphasis on powerful drums. In 2010, Nonesuch released his second collaboration with Brion, Highway Rider, which includes 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 fifteen pieces for the ensemble.

Mehldau’s 2014 collaboration with Mark Guiliana, Mehliana: Taming the Dragon, featured Mehldau on Fender Rhodes and synthesizers and Guiliana on drums and effects, playing twelve original tunes—six by the duo and six by Mehldau. His 2019 album Finding Gabriel featured performances by him on piano, synthesizers, percussion, and Fender Rhodes, as well as vocals. Guest musicians included Ambrose Akinmusire, Sara Caswell, Kurt Elling, Joel Frahm, Mark Guiliana, Gabriel Kahane, and Becca Stevens, among others.

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Latest Release

  • September 9, 2022

    In 1994, the original Joshua Redman Quartet—Redman (saxophone), Brad Mehldau (piano), Christian McBride (bass), and Brian Blade (drums)—released MoodSwing, an instant classic that helped launch each member’s career as a leader. The members of the quartet reunited for the critically acclaimed album RoundAgain in 2020 and now for a new album, LongGone, featuring original Redman compositions from the RoundAgain recording sessions, plus a live performance of the MoodSwing track “Rejoice,” captured by SFJAZZ at the San Francisco Jazz Festival.

Releases

News

  • September 9, 2022

    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.

  • September 8, 2022

    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.

Tour

Tue, Oct 11
New York, NY
Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall
Tue, Oct 11
New York, NY
Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall
Fri, Oct 21
Chiasso,
Cinema Teatro
Fri, Oct 21
Chiasso,
Cinema Teatro
Sat, Oct 22
Cologne,
Kölner Philharmonie
Sat, Oct 22
Cologne,
Kölner Philharmonie
Sun, Oct 23
Luxembourg,
Philharmonie Luxembourg
Sun, Oct 23
Luxembourg,
Philharmonie Luxembourg
Tue, Oct 25
Essen,
Philharmonie Essen
Tue, Oct 25
Essen,
Philharmonie Essen
Wed, Oct 26
Barcelona,
Palau de la Música
Wed, Oct 26
Barcelona,
Palau de la Música
Sat, Oct 29
Hamburg,
Elbphilharmonie
Sat, Oct 29
Hamburg,
Elbphilharmonie
Tue, Nov 01
Amsterdam,
Concertgebouw
Tue, Nov 01
Amsterdam,
Concertgebouw
Wed, Nov 02
Prague,
Lucerna Great Hall
Wed, Nov 02
Prague,
Lucerna Great Hall
Thu, Nov 03
Budapest,
Béla Bartók National Concert Hall
Thu, Nov 03
Budapest,
Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

Photos

About Brad Mehldau

  • Nonesuch Records releases Brad Mehldau’s Jacob’s Ladder on March 18, 2022 on CD and digital; a vinyl LP version will be released later in the year (exact date TBD). The album features new music that reflects on scripture and the search for God through music inspired by the prog rock Mehldau loved as a young adolescent, which was his gateway to the fusion that eventually led to his discovery of jazz. Featured musicians on the album include Mehldau’s label mates Chris Thile and Cécile McLorin Salvant, as well as Mark Guiliana, Becca Stevens, Joel Frahm, and others. A video for ‘maybe as his skies are wide’ is available now. The song builds off an interpolation of one portion of Rush’s classic “Tom Sawyer.” Nonesuch Store pre-orders include an exclusive signed, limited-edition print.

    Mehldau explains, “We are born close to God, and as we mature, we invariably move further and further away from Him on account of our ego. Jacob’s Ladder begins at that place closer to God with the voice of child, and then moves into the world of action. God is always there, but in our discovery and conquest, and all the joys and sorrows they bring, we may lose sight of him. He sets a ladder before us though, like in Jacob’s dream, and we climb towards him, to find reconciliation with ourselves, to stitch up all those worldly wounds and finally heal. The record ends with my vision of heaven—once again as a child, His child, in eternal grace, in ecstasy.

    “The musical conduit on the record is prog,” Mehldau continues. “Prog—progressive rock—was the music of my childhood, before I discovered jazz. It matched the fantasy and science fiction books I read from C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle and others at that time, aged ten through twelve. It was my gateway to the fusion of Miles Davis, Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra and other groups, which in turn was the gateway to more jazz. Jazz shared with prog a broader expressive scope and larger-scale ambitions than the rock music I had known already.

    “The prog from Rush, Gentle Giant, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer here only hints at the genre’s conceptual, compositional and emotional range. These bands and others have continued to influence newer groups that bring prog impulses into the arena of hard rock and screaming math metal, like Periphery, whose music is included here, and also inspired the screaming vocals on ‘Herr und Knecht.’ I tried to avoid a direct tribute approach to all the songs, and opted in some cases for excerpts, or reworking of themes.”

    Although Brad Mehldau is best known as a jazz composer and improviser, he has made several albums that fall outside of the mainstream jazz genre, including his 2001 Largo, produced by Jon Brion. Wide-ranging in texture and big in scale, it features woodwind or brass ensembles are on several tracks, as well as a heavy emphasis on powerful drums. In 2010, Nonesuch released his second collaboration with Brion, Highway Rider, which includes 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 fifteen pieces for the ensemble.

    Mehldau’s 2014 collaboration with Mark Guiliana, Mehliana: Taming the Dragon, featured Mehldau on Fender Rhodes and synthesizers and Guiliana on drums and effects, playing twelve original tunes—six by the duo and six by Mehldau. His 2019 album Finding Gabriel featured performances by him on piano, synthesizers, percussion, and Fender Rhodes, as well as vocals. Guest musicians included Ambrose Akinmusire, Sara Caswell, Kurt Elling, Joel Frahm, Mark Guiliana, Gabriel Kahane, and Becca Stevens, among others.