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Jazz - Released February 2, 2011 | Nonesuch

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS - The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released September 26, 1995 | Warner Jazz

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Unusual Suspects - The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released June 3, 2016 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
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Contemporary Jazz - Released February 21, 2014 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet + Video Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Hi-Res Audio
Mehliana is the recording and performing project of pianist and composer Brad Mehldau and drummer, composer, and electronic musician Mark Guiliana. The former is one of the most highly regarded artists in the jazz world; the latter, a decade his junior, is a celebrated sideman and the leader of the genre-defying Beat Music, an ensemble that deftly juxtaposes electronica, funk, jazz, prog rock, and more. Mehldau wrote half of the cuts on Taming the Dragon; the duo co-wrote the balance. This wild melange of keyboards, beats, textures, musical styles, samples, and electronic sounds reflects jagged yet accessible compositions and improvisations whose sonics are as important as their melodies. Mehldau plays synths, Rhodes, and acoustic piano, while Guiliana provides drums and other electronics. The title track is one of two spoken word pieces here. It commences with a near-ambient backdrop as Mehldau recalls a dream epiphany before the music gives way to a heavily fazed drum and synth workout that spirals to the margins as it closes. "Luxe" features a wound-out, fat-ass synth bass, pulsing Rhodes, and a martial backbeat that begins sparsely and hypnotically before it transforms into a cooking, futurist jazz-funk groove. "You Can't Go Back Now" is led by Guiliana's breaks and sampled voices before Mehldau's Squarepusher-esque synth introduce his Rhodes and acoustic piano; the track's dynamic tension increases until it becomes a space jazz anthem. The limber jazz-funk in "Sleeping Giant" deliberately recalls George Duke's MPS era recordings, though it contains Mehldau's knotty lyricism. "Gainsbourg" samples the French songwriter's "Manon" and "Ford Mustang." Initially, it feels like a cinema cue but, like everything else here, nothing is what it seems. Through quick editing its wacky, informal, and nearly hummable melody becomes a harmonic mosaic. "Just Call Me Nige" features nearly incessant breaks and in-the-pocket vamps by Guiliana (beatmakers will be sampling this guy, and this record, for years to come). It bridges the gap between dancefloor stepper and prog rock jam. Those beats provide a platform for Mehldau's Rhodes solo which evolves from blues to post-bop and his zig-zagging synth lines could be an update of Deodato's version of "Thus Spake Zarathustra." "Swimming" starts as a midtempo ballad but eventually approaches jazz-rock with a 10/8 meter and a labyrinthine Rhodes solo from Mehldau, while closer "London Gloaming" melds Radiohead-esque avant-pop, and atmospheric electronica. More conservative jazzheads will likely shake their heads in disapproval at Taming the Dragon, but this set is for anyone but them. Though it's quite sophisticated, this album is a hell of a lot of fun. Mehldau and Guiliana integrate all of the musical, stylistic, and technological elements at their disposal into an imaginative, provocative -- and focused -- whole. Fans of Marco Benevento and Medeski, Martin & Wood take note. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Contemporary Jazz - Released September 14, 2012 | Nonesuch

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Sélection JAZZ NEWS
The companion piece to Brad Mehldau's other 2012 album, the all-original Ode, Where Do You Start features the pianist's trio covering material by other artists. Included are cuts by such eclectic non-jazz artists as Sufjan Stevens, Chico Buarque, and Jimi Hendrix. Also featured, however, are some choice jazz standards with Clifford Brown's "Brownie Speaks" and Sonny Rollins' "Airegin." Joining Mehldau here are his longtime cohorts bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard. Clearly, the members of this trio have a sympathetic, almost psychic connection, and it is never anything but pleasurable to hear them interact. As Mehldau has spent much of his time either recording his original songs or covering a variety of contemporary pop songs, some listeners might breathe a sigh of relief to hear him stretch out on the more traditional jazz standards here. Of course, tracks like his poignant take on Elvis Costello and Cat O'Riordan's "Baby Plays Around" and his earthy reworking of Nick Drake's "Time Has Told Me" are as revelatory as any of his other pop reinventions. Ultimately, Where Do You Start is an intimate, impressionistic, and probing release that should certainly appeal to longtime fans of Mehldau's nuanced jazz style. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 17, 2005 | Fresh Sound Records

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc Jazzman
3 stars out of 5 -- "He sounds terrific on BLUES CRUISE....Cheek generally delivers the goods throughout, from his gorgeously pensive soprano work on 'Song Of India' to the vibrato-rich bathos he extracts from the Henry Mancini theme 'The Sweetheart Tree'." © TiVo
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Jazz - Released October 16, 2015 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
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Contemporary Jazz - Released May 17, 2019 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
It would not be fair to say that Brad Mehldau rests only on his laurels and sticks to what he knows. With Finding Gabriel, the American pianist delivers an ambitious and multifaceted record that blows open the conventions of jazz. Mehldau had previously co-released a very special album with drummer Mark Guiliana, Mehliana: Taming the Dragon in 2014, long before this more compact 2019 release. Above all, Finding Gabriel is the product of the pianists’ intense study of the Bible (it is the angel Gabriel’s name that is referenced in the title…). “I built up many of the tracks beginning with synths and Mark Guiliana on drums, in a process similar to our previous collaboration, Taming the Dragon. Layers were added, and the human voice became an important element—not with text, but as a pure expression of harmony and emotion.” From the offset, the record is an immediate shock. The result is a mystical and fascinating fusion of ideas. Behind his piano are the synths of engineers Dave Smith and Tom Oberheim Ob-6, his Fender Rhodes, percussion parts and, for the first time, a microphone. Mehldau unfolds a symphony of wind instruments, strings and electronica while dabbling in jazz fusion (one sometimes thinks of Metheny Group or Weather Report) in which the human voice takes on an essential role. The American pianist is however not the only one to sing on this record as singers Kurt Elling, Becca Stevens and Gabriel Kahane are all invited to join. Finally, in terms of guests, the record is joined by the violinist Sara Caswell, the trumpetist Ambrose Akinmusire, the saxophonists Joel Frahm, Charles Pillow and Christ Cheek and the flutist Michel Thomas. From start to finish, Brad Mehldau’s Finding Gabriel is a unique and spiritual odyssey that differs very much from his other piano trios. © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released March 9, 2018 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
Without being a mandatory baptism of fire, Jean-Sébastien Bach has always been a captivating magnet for many jazz musicians. So much so that people like Jacques Loussier, Keith Jarrett, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Dan Tepfer or Edouard Ferlet to name but a handful, all tackled head on, and for good reason, the work of the Cantor of Leipzig . The choice made by Brad Mehldau is a hybrid. The American pianist does not create here a jazz album strictly speaking - fans of "Jazzy Bach" can go home straight away - but he mixes themes of Bach - four preludes and a fugue - to personal and contemporary pieces; as intriguing answers or mirror games to original works. The exercise is all the more interesting because part of Bach's work took the form of improvisation. As for Mehldau, his style, but also his compositions, have always contained elements echoing the German composer. We know the rhythmic force of Bach's writing that appeals to jazz musicians. But here, the pianist has thought through his record in its entirety, never trying to separate his works from that of the other. The result is therefore confusing at first (especially for those familiar with the preludes and fugues of the original) but fascinating above all else. Because After Bach is anything but an impressive show of class (Brad Mehldau does not need that much, his virtuosity as a great no longer needs to be proven) but rather an exciting reflection on the life of a score through the centuries. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released May 18, 2018 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Distinctions Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
With his faithful acolytes Jeff Ballard on the drums and Larry Grenadier on the double bass, Brad Mehldau intertwines three new compositions with covers of pop (Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson), jazz (Elmo Hope, Sam Rivers) and Great American Songbook (Almost Like Being In Love) classics. Without disrupting this great formation’s values, Seymour Reads The Constitution! once again highlights the strong complicity between the three protagonists always inspired in their improvisations and exchanges. They already peaked with their 2016 release Blues And Ballads, but this 2018 opus is even more intoxicating with the piano maestro displaying an incredible versatility and ringing a thousand colours. We already knew the American virtuoso could play anything. But with Seymour Reads The Constitution!, Mehldau keeps the listener off balance at all times, drops countless references, wanders around the history of piano jazz, and always finds the right note, the perfect chord to create the most endearing, touching and astounding music. In his already extensive discography (though not on par with Keith Jarrett’s, one of his great influences), this album will, when push comes to shove, undeniably occupy a most prominent place… © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released September 5, 2000 | Warner Jazz

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Brad Mehldau is becoming a more interesting, more thought-provoking, more individualistic musician with each release -- breaking away from the same old models, finding new ones to integrate into his own personality. The 11 compositions on this CD were conceived on the road, and only midway through did Mehldau realize that they developed similar ideas. Which indeed they do, seizing upon repeated riffing and vamps that Keith Jarrett has explored and sending them in cogent directions. The designated theme is travel; each selection bears the name of a place or mood, and the catchy, contemplative "Los Angeles" serves as the album's bookends, as well as a solo pit stop in the center. Like Elegiac Cycle, Places works like a song cycle; a unified, beautifully proportioned conception, with lots of rambunctious, swinging outbreaks amidst the contemplation. The titles in themselves mean nothing as far as the content of the music is concerned -- or so he writes in another lengthy, provocative liner note. Rather, the album is about the constancy of his personality and musical language, taking all of your personal mental baggage with you wherever you travel. This is an important album, one that anyone interested in piano jazz ought to check out. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released February 24, 2004 | Nonesuch

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Ode

Contemporary Jazz - Released March 9, 2012 | Nonesuch

Booklet Distinctions Sélection JAZZ NEWS
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Jazz - Released June 3, 2016 | Nonesuch

Booklet Distinctions Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
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Contemporary Jazz - Released February 21, 2014 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Jazz - Released June 11, 2021 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res
While the impulse to mix jazz and classical music into a new hybrid is compelling and seems achievable, outside of works by Duke Ellington and George Gershwin, it's never really produced lasting results. Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, who has always held outsized ambitions to be more than just a jazz player, first premiered Variations on a Melancholy Theme with the 34-piece Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in 2013 at Carnegie Hall. Based on the keyboard variations used in Bach's Goldberg Variations and Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Mehldau the jazzer has described the piece as what would happen if "Brahms woke up one day and had the blues." Following its premiere, this series of what was originally 11 variations was retooled and for this recording became 12 short variations followed by a cadenza, a long postlude and an encore: "Variations "X" & "Y"". Precisely recorded by Adam Abeshouse in 2013 in the acclaimed acoustics of Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA, the pianist's melancholia starts slowly, with a bluesy melody carried by the piano abetted by reeds and brass. By "Variation 3" it shifts—true to the pianist's description—into sweeping, lushly orchestrated Romantic contours. Evolving into a tone poem led by piano, the most coherent passages in the entire piece are when the piano is the featured instrument as in "Variation 5" when Mehldau ranges up and down the keyboard accompanied at times by flute accents and bursts of clattering percussion. With "Variation 9" briefly toying with the notion of an atonal tangent and the closing "Postlude" becoming overwrought while trying too hard to be weighty and consequential, the overall effect falls short of being successful; an inspirational fusion of orchestra and jazz-influenced piano never quite emerges. The highlight here is the closing "Encore" where Mehldau, untethered from the orchestra, improvises a sprightly jazz coda. A pleasant if minor piano exploration with orchestral accompaniment, Variations continues the search for a musical alloy that remains elusive. © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released June 12, 2020 | Nonesuch

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The pandemic, lockdown and social distancing were the start and end point for this solo piano album that Brad Mehldau had clearly never expected to record nor publish. The impact of this most outlandish situation can be seen clearly in track’s titles on Suite: April 2020 (waking up, stepping outside, keeping distance, stopping, listening: hearing, remembering before all this, uncertainty, the day moves by…) and even the record’s sleeve, a self-written text and sort of explanatory waybill of a period that ended up more exciting than mundane. The piano playing is indeed exciting and purer than usual as if each note holds weight and questions itself own individual purpose. There’s an ambiance that gives Mehldau’s improvisations an authentic simplicity and surreal purity. It’s without doubt about the simplicity of finding oneself, like never before, among family and enjoying basic daily tasks and pleasures, as written on the cover. And to conclude this work: an indoor promenade of three parts: Don’t Let It Bring You Down by Neil Young (a song Mehldau often looks to for guidance), New York State of Mind by Billy Joel, a love letter to the Big Apple which has suffered greatly during the epidemic (and a place he considers a home away from home), and the classic Look for the Silver Lining, which closes in a reassuring, warming manner full of hope for a period in which the world stopped spinning; or almost. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Film Soundtracks - Released October 28, 2019 | My Melody

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Contemporary Jazz - Released September 1, 1997 | Warner Jazz

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Contemporary Jazz - Released January 28, 1997 | Warner Jazz

At this point in time, pianist Brad Mehldau's style falls between Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans, being heavily influenced by the voicings of the latter and the free yet lyrical improvising of the former. With fine backup work by bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy, Mehldau explores five standards (including the Beatles' "Blackbird" and "Nobody Else but Me") and four originals, coming up with melodic yet adventurous ideas. Mehldau displays much potential for the future. © Scott Yanow /TiVo

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Brad Mehldau in the magazine
  • Brad Mehldau Blends Classical and Jazz
    Brad Mehldau Blends Classical and Jazz While the impulse to mix jazz and classical music into a new hybrid is compelling and seems achievable, outside of works by Duke Ellington and George Gershwin, it's never really produced lasting re...