Among the most significant of the younger generation of jazz pianists, Brad Mehldau is a wunderkind who combines classical training, a strong affinity for Bill Evans, an equal fascination with opera and pop music, and a restless, unpredictable imagination. Early on he was a member of Joshua Redman's band, became a sought-after sideman, and worked with an eclectic array of artists ranging from Willie Nelson to opera soprano Renee Fleming. Last winter he premiered a Carnegie Hall-commissioned piece called "Love Songs" (based on the poetry of Sara Teasdale, e.e. cummings and Philip Larkin) with mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter. But his most prominent work has been with his especially simpatico trio, featuring the equally prodigious Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums. The trio's latest, Live (Nonesuch), a two-CD set recorded at New York's Village Vanguard in 2006, sports a fine collection of Mehldau originals along with intriguing covers stretching from Coltrane and Ray Noble to Oasis, Soundgarden, and Chico Buarque, each piece defined via a potent arsenal of focused improvisation and angular architecture. $40 at 7 p.m.; $30 at 9:30 p.m.
Sun., May 3, 7 & 9:30 p.m., 2009