Brad Mehldau's Debut Book, 'Formation: Building a Personal Canon, Part I,' Out Now on Equinox Publishing

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Submitted by nonesuch on Tue, 03/14/2023 - 09:00
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Brad Mehldau has published his debut book, Formation: Building a Personal Canon, Part I, out now on Equinox Publishing. "It's an autobiographical bildungsroman of sorts, tracing my musical and personal formation up until the age of twenty-six," he says. "Along the way, it gives a picture of what the New York City jazz scene felt like in the late 1980s and early ’90s." Joshua Redman says: "His music is nothing short of magic—an impossible wonder of ecstatic and empathic creative communion, to which I myself have borne witness, time and time again. Now, in this probing and provocative memoir, Brad finally shares with us some of the secrets (or at least the stories) behind the casting of his innumerable spells. A worthy read for anyone intrigued by the genesis of genius.”

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Brad Mehldau, whose new album, Your Mother Should Know: Brad Mehldau Plays The Beatles, was released last month, has published his debut book, Formation: Building a Personal Canon, Part I, out now on Equinox Publishing. “It’s an autobiographical bildungsroman of sorts, tracing my musical and personal formation up until the age of twenty-six,” Mehldau says. “Along the way, it gives a picture of what the New York City jazz scene felt like in the late 1980s and early ’90s.” You can pick up a copy of the book here.

Formation shows how a generation of musicians met and sparked off one another to take the music in new directions, drawing on a wealth of influences but also keeping sight of tradition, including those rooted in both the jazz and classical worlds. The atmosphere of the clubs, the creative scene in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and Mehldau’s early experiences of touring are brought to life. The formation of the MoodSwing quartet with Joshua Redman is described, as is the growth of Mehldau’s own groups, leading to his acclaimed Art of the Trio series of recordings with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy. The trio’s later life with Jeff Ballard joining in place of Rossy; Brad’s solo ventures; and his explorations of other areas of music, are also covered.

“Brad Mehldau is our jazz generation’s Conjurer-In-Chief,” Redman says. “His music is nothing short of magic—an impossible wonder of ecstatic and empathic creative communion, to which I myself have borne witness, time and time again. Now, in this probing and provocative memoir, Brad finally shares with us some of the secrets (or at least the stories) behind the casting of his innumerable spells. A worthy read for anyone intrigued by the genesis of genius.”

“This is incredible writing,” says filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson. “It’s loose, specific and sharp as a knife. Brad writes words like he plays piano—with delicate strength and a gift for accessing memories and turning them into thick emotions. I feel lucky to be around while Brad is here with us. He seems to have access to wells of memories and emotions that few people do. I love his writing as much as I love his music. It’s hard to go backwards and access memories like Brad does here. They are dark, funny, inspiring and moving. Its details are what makes it special—the kind of things that only happen when you open yourself.”

Music critic Nate Chinen says: “Brad Mehldau’s elegant clarity and lyrical interiority, hallmarks of his artistry as a jazz pianist, also stamp every page of this brilliant and affecting memoir—rooted in a fearless, radical candor. Rarely has an artist revealed themselves so fully as a prism onto the meaning of their art, and a chronicle of a dynamic moment in time.”

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Brad Mehldau: 'Formation' [book]
  • Tuesday, March 14, 2023
    Brad Mehldau's Debut Book, 'Formation: Building a Personal Canon, Part I,' Out Now on Equinox Publishing

    Brad Mehldau, whose new album, Your Mother Should Know: Brad Mehldau Plays The Beatles, was released last month, has published his debut book, Formation: Building a Personal Canon, Part I, out now on Equinox Publishing. “It’s an autobiographical bildungsroman of sorts, tracing my musical and personal formation up until the age of twenty-six,” Mehldau says. “Along the way, it gives a picture of what the New York City jazz scene felt like in the late 1980s and early ’90s.” You can pick up a copy of the book here.

    Formation shows how a generation of musicians met and sparked off one another to take the music in new directions, drawing on a wealth of influences but also keeping sight of tradition, including those rooted in both the jazz and classical worlds. The atmosphere of the clubs, the creative scene in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and Mehldau’s early experiences of touring are brought to life. The formation of the MoodSwing quartet with Joshua Redman is described, as is the growth of Mehldau’s own groups, leading to his acclaimed Art of the Trio series of recordings with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy. The trio’s later life with Jeff Ballard joining in place of Rossy; Brad’s solo ventures; and his explorations of other areas of music, are also covered.

    “Brad Mehldau is our jazz generation’s Conjurer-In-Chief,” Redman says. “His music is nothing short of magic—an impossible wonder of ecstatic and empathic creative communion, to which I myself have borne witness, time and time again. Now, in this probing and provocative memoir, Brad finally shares with us some of the secrets (or at least the stories) behind the casting of his innumerable spells. A worthy read for anyone intrigued by the genesis of genius.”

    “This is incredible writing,” says filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson. “It’s loose, specific and sharp as a knife. Brad writes words like he plays piano—with delicate strength and a gift for accessing memories and turning them into thick emotions. I feel lucky to be around while Brad is here with us. He seems to have access to wells of memories and emotions that few people do. I love his writing as much as I love his music. It’s hard to go backwards and access memories like Brad does here. They are dark, funny, inspiring and moving. Its details are what makes it special—the kind of things that only happen when you open yourself.”

    Music critic Nate Chinen says: “Brad Mehldau’s elegant clarity and lyrical interiority, hallmarks of his artistry as a jazz pianist, also stamp every page of this brilliant and affecting memoir—rooted in a fearless, radical candor. Rarely has an artist revealed themselves so fully as a prism onto the meaning of their art, and a chronicle of a dynamic moment in time.”

    Journal Articles:Artist News

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