Jazz Concert Review: BRAD MEHLDAU TRIO (International Tour at Disney Hall)

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by Scott Yanow on November 28, 2023

in Concerts / Events,Music,Tours


Ever since he recorded with altoist Christopher Hollyday’s group in 1991, Brad Mehldau has one been one of jazz’s top pianists. He was with Joshua Redman’s group during 1993-94 but otherwise has mostly been heard as a leader ever since. He put together his trio with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy in 1994; Jeff Ballard took Rossy’s place in 2005.

While Mehldau has recorded on electric piano, with orchestras, on special projects, and with such notables as Wayne Shorter, Charles Lloyd and Pat Metheny, he has most often been heard at the head of his trio or on unaccompanied solo sessions. At Disney Hall on November 8, 2023, Mehldau performed with Grenadier and Ballard.

While the trio interpreted a few of the pianist’s originals, most of the more memorable performances were their creative versions of standards. “I Hear A Rhapsody” had the musicians hinting at rather than stating the time. After a few Mehldau works (including “Seymour Reads The Constitution”), the musicians cooked on the classic bebop of Charlie Parker’s “Cheryl.” Mehldau has gained a strong reputation for his ability to take pop and rock songs and transform them into creative jazz. That was in evidence during a lengthy and thoroughly intriguing version of the Beatles’ “And I Love Her.” Ballard gave the piece a catchy groove that was reminiscent of the Ahmad Jamal Trio. For contrast, Mehldau and his musicians took the ballad “Long Ago And Far Away” and played a hard-swinging and uptempo version that stripped the tune of any sentimentality or World War II nostalgia. They also dug into a beautiful and melodic rendition of “The Folks Who Live on the Hill” which was topped off by the pianist’s thoughtful cadenza.

With the constant interaction between the three players (Grenadier’s countermelodies and musical commentary were important parts of the music along with Ballard’s quiet support), the Brad Mehldau Trio lived up to one’s high expectations.

for international tour dates and cities, visit Brad Mehldau

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