Album Review - Brad Mehldau


Brad Mehldau


Art of the Trio 4: Back at the Vanguard

Warner Bros

"The constant comparison of this trio with the Bill Evans trio by critics has been a thorn in my side," frets the young jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, in quite possibly one of the most erudite and sincerely self-promotional set of liner notes in recent memory. The biographical hearsay and pseudo-legend that has plagued Mehldau throughout the years is certainly not the worse of fates, but let's give him a break... this is a man on a mission.

In his latest, live album Art of the Trio 4: Back at the Vanguard, Mehldau wages his battle against jazz sophistry, playing everyone from Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein III ("All The Things You Are") to Radiohead ("Exit Music (For A Film)", the perfect Harvard-Yard-on-a-rainy-day ballad) to Miles Davis as well as many of his own originals. Not surprisingly, on this more rockin' than swingin' installment of the piano/bass/drum combination, not so much more than a few prickles of the late Evans can be felt. But so can a bit of the Well-Tempered counterpoint and the old Ludwig van. Worth buying for those liner notes alone. A-

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