Brad Mehldau Trio
Pianist Brad Mehldau's newly released Highway Rider (Nonesuch) is his most ambitious and accomplished album in a career that has pushed the boundaries of jazz in many directions without compromising its integrity. In 15 new compositions stretched over two discs, Mehldau, who also arranged and orchestrated everything, etches a finely detailed narrative that winds through the entire album, seamlessly flowing between jazz and classical while encountering the colors and textures of pop, blues, gospel, folk, and Latin music. It is so well-integrated that it could only work if entirely recorded live, and producer Jon Brion (known for his pop work) does a masterful job keeping everything balanced. Nearly every piece is approached with a different format, from Mehldau's elegiac solo "At the Tollbooth" to trio bits with regulars Jeff Ballard (drums) and Larry Grenadier (bass), to the additions of saxophonist Joshua Redman and drummer Matt Cunningham, as well as the chamber orchestra. It's restless, exploratory music comfortable in its self-assurance, whether running with melodic hooks, flirting with dissonance, or coaxing sly swing from the orchestra. At the Dakota, Mehldau will be accompanied by Ballard and Grenadier. (Photo by Michael Wilson)
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 7 & 9:30 p.m. Starts: April 6. Continues through April 7, 2010
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