NY Times: Brad Mehldau Trio's "Completely Luminous" Sound Fills Village Vanguard in First of Several Sold-Out Sets

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Submitted by nonesuch on Thu, 05/07/2009 - 11:04
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The Brad Mehldau Trio returned to the Village Vanguard in New York's Greenwich Village this past Tuesday for the first in a five-night residency of a dozen sold-out sets. "[T]here was looseness in his first set on Tuesday night, along with variety and depth of feeling," says the New York Times. "Mr. Mehldau conveyed a spruce informality, mixing impulse with erudition." By set's end, "His sound, completely luminous, filled the room." The Chicago Tribune calls last Friday's Trio performance at that city's Symphony Center "delightful," exclaiming that Mehldau's "collaboration with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard reaffirmed one's belief in the enduring viability of the jazz trio."

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The Brad Mehldau Trio, with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, returned to the Village Vanguard in New York's Greenwich Village this past Tuesday for the first in a five-night residency of a dozen sold-out sets.

"Brad Mehldau has a warm, pliable, softly radiant touch at the piano, suggestive of waning sunlight or certain precious metals," writes New York Times jazz critic Nate Chinen writes in his review of the week's opening set. "At the Village Vanguard, effectively his second home, that tactile impression can sometimes seem enveloping and serious. But there was looseness in his first set on Tuesday night, along with variety and depth of feeling. Appearing with his trio, which sold out the full week in advance, Mr. Mehldau conveyed a spruce informality, mixing impulse with erudition."

Chinen credits Mehldau with giving his talented trio partners "the full measure of his trust," and goes on to muse: "To the extent that Mr. Mehldau is a rhapsodist—and among modern jazz pianists only Keith Jarrett deserves the term more—it’s because he has no qualms about his foundations."

The set included the sort of ecumenical program for which Mehldau is renowned: It began with a song by '90s rockers Alice in Chains, for which the pianist "created the sensation of a trance," says Chinen, and closed with a tune by Johnny Mandel, featuring "shimmering chords and an airy swirl of phrases. His sound, completely luminous, filled the room."

Read the complete concert review at nytimes.com.

---

Last Friday, Mehldau played two sets at Chicago's Symphony Center, the first set with the Trio, the second solo. "The preternaturally unorthodox pianist launched the evening with his sterling trio, then closed it intimately, alone on the stage at the keyboard," Chicago Tribune music critic Howard Reich writes in his review. "Delightful."

Reich continues:

[H]is collaboration with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard reaffirmed one's belief in the enduring viability of the jazz trio. Here were three musicians who shared a common aesthetic—Meldhau's—in which gestures are stated softly and with utmost subtlety ... When music-making becomes this transparent, listeners can relish details of texture and voicing that usually are lost in a large auditorium. And here was the central pleasure of this set: hearing Mehldau's exquisitely balanced chords and gently lilting phrases echoed and embellished by his partners.

Read the complete review at chicagotribune.com.

featuredimage
Brad Mehldau Trio: Ballard, Grenadier, Mehldau by Michael Wilson
  • Thursday, May 7, 2009
    NY Times: Brad Mehldau Trio's "Completely Luminous" Sound Fills Village Vanguard in First of Several Sold-Out Sets
    Michael Wilson

    The Brad Mehldau Trio, with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, returned to the Village Vanguard in New York's Greenwich Village this past Tuesday for the first in a five-night residency of a dozen sold-out sets.

    "Brad Mehldau has a warm, pliable, softly radiant touch at the piano, suggestive of waning sunlight or certain precious metals," writes New York Times jazz critic Nate Chinen writes in his review of the week's opening set. "At the Village Vanguard, effectively his second home, that tactile impression can sometimes seem enveloping and serious. But there was looseness in his first set on Tuesday night, along with variety and depth of feeling. Appearing with his trio, which sold out the full week in advance, Mr. Mehldau conveyed a spruce informality, mixing impulse with erudition."

    Chinen credits Mehldau with giving his talented trio partners "the full measure of his trust," and goes on to muse: "To the extent that Mr. Mehldau is a rhapsodist—and among modern jazz pianists only Keith Jarrett deserves the term more—it’s because he has no qualms about his foundations."

    The set included the sort of ecumenical program for which Mehldau is renowned: It began with a song by '90s rockers Alice in Chains, for which the pianist "created the sensation of a trance," says Chinen, and closed with a tune by Johnny Mandel, featuring "shimmering chords and an airy swirl of phrases. His sound, completely luminous, filled the room."

    Read the complete concert review at nytimes.com.

    ---

    Last Friday, Mehldau played two sets at Chicago's Symphony Center, the first set with the Trio, the second solo. "The preternaturally unorthodox pianist launched the evening with his sterling trio, then closed it intimately, alone on the stage at the keyboard," Chicago Tribune music critic Howard Reich writes in his review. "Delightful."

    Reich continues:

    [H]is collaboration with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard reaffirmed one's belief in the enduring viability of the jazz trio. Here were three musicians who shared a common aesthetic—Meldhau's—in which gestures are stated softly and with utmost subtlety ... When music-making becomes this transparent, listeners can relish details of texture and voicing that usually are lost in a large auditorium. And here was the central pleasure of this set: hearing Mehldau's exquisitely balanced chords and gently lilting phrases echoed and embellished by his partners.

    Read the complete review at chicagotribune.com.

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