|Brad Mehldau - The Art Of The Trio, Vol.3: Songs
|AMG Review by Steve Huey (4 1/2):
The lyrical pianist Brad Mehldau applies his melancholy, Bill Evans/Keith Jarrett-derived approach to a set of five originals plus standards including "Young at Heart," "For All We Know," and "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," as well as covers of Nick Drake's "River Man" and Radiohead's "Exit Music (For a Film)." The always swinging and tasteful pianist is accompanied by a rhythm section of drummer Jorge Rossy and bassist Larry Grenadier, and overall this is a fine program easily recommended to straight-ahead collectors.
Mehldau is a strikingly original young jazz pianist, an innovator in a world too often bound by tradition. Combining classically influenced harmonic sensibilities with a sensitive, panoramic approach that owes to both Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, Mehldau burst onto the '90s jazz scene, taking the world by storm. SONGS is the third volume in a series of trio works that find Mehldau deftly accompanied by the stalwart rhythm section of drummer Jorge Rossy and bassist Larry Grenadier. As usual, Mehldau's explorations of the trio format are unique and unparalleled, combining bravado with a cerebral, almost meditative quality. Instead of flat-out improvisational vehicles, this recording (as the title indicates) concentrates on jazzy elaborations on the pop song format. Mehldau reaches far and wide for material, even tapping Radiohead ("Exit Music [For a Film]") and Nick Drake ("River Man"). Ultimately, though, it's Mehldau's distinctive touch that is the most prominent element of this intriguing collection.