Sunday, December 18, 2011

Brad Mehldau

Brad Mehldau (born August 23, 1970) is an American jazz pianist. Besides leading his own group, the Brad Mehldau Trio, he has performed with many renowned artists, including Pat Metheny, Wayne Shorter, Larry Grenadier, Peter Bernstein, Jeff Ballard, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Michael Brecker, Chris Potter, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Brian Blade, Jimmy Cobb, classical vocalists Renée Fleming  and Anne Sofie von Otter,  and singer-songwriters Chris Thile and John Mayer.
Mehldau was born Bradford Alexander Mehldau in 1970 in Jacksonville, Florida.  His family moved to Connecticut where Mehldau spent most of his childhood and high school. He attended William H. Hall High School in West Hartford and participated in Hall's prestigious jazz program. While a sophomore in high school, he won Berklee College's Best All-Around Musician Award. Mehldau moved to New York in 1988 to study jazz at The New School, studying under Fred Hersch, Junior Mance and Kenny Werner, and also playing with Jimmy Cobb.  He went on to play as sideman with a variety of musicians, most importantly with the Joshua Redman quartet, before forming his own trio in 1994, with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy, and later Jeff Ballard, who succeeded Rossy in 2005. In addition to his trio work, Mehldau collaborated with guitarist Pat Metheny, releasing two albums with him and embarking on a worldwide tour along with Grenadier and Ballard.
Recording primarily for Nonesuch Records, Mehldau plays original compositions, jazz standards and jazz arrangements of popular music, especially rock music. With his trio, he has recorded arrangements of the music of Nick Drake, The Beatles, Radiohead and Paul Simon among others, and recorded Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" on his 2008 album, Live. Mehldau has also expressed an interest in and knowledge of philosophy, in particular of music and art. He has played and recorded solo and with co-leaders Peter Bernstein, Mark Turner, Charlie Haden, Charles Lloyd, Pat Metheny and others. In 2004, Mehldau toured with Kurt Rosenwinkel and Joshua Redman.
He cites Larry Goldings, Kevin Hays, Peter Bernstein, Mark Turner, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jesse Davis, David Sánchez and the other members of his own trio as influences. He implements his classical training by often playing a separate melody with each hand in unusual rhythmic meters. For example, he plays his arrangement of Jerome Kern's standard "All the Things You Are" on Art of the Trio, Vol. IV in A major (a half-step up from the original key, A-flat major) played in 7/4 time. On Day Is Done, he also plays Paul Simon's "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" in 7/4. Another of Mehldau's signature techniques is to create an ostinato in his right hand whilst developing a motivic idea in his left hand (e.g. on "Live in Tokyo", during the last three minutes of "Someone to Watch Over Me", where he keeps a constant A pedal).
Mehldau cherishes Brazilian music, citing Milton Nascimento, Chico Buarque and Simone.
Mehldau is married to Dutch jazz vocalist Fleurine, with whom he has recorded and toured extensively. He speaks (more or less) fluent Dutch.

As leader
Introducing Brad Mehldau (1995)
The Art of the Trio, Vol. I (1997)
The Art of the Trio, Vol. II — Live At The Village Vanguard (1997)
The Art of the Trio, Vol. III — Songs (1998)
Elegiac Cycle (1999)
The Art of the Trio, Vol. IV — Back At The Vanguard (1999)
Places (2000)
The Art of the Trio, Vol. V — Progression (2001)
Largo (2002)
Anything Goes (2004)
Live in Tokyo — solo piano (2004)
Day is Done (trio) (2005)
House on Hill (trio) (2006)
Live (trio) (2008)
Highway Rider (2010)
Live in Marciac (solo 2CD+DVD) (2011)
As co-leader
New York-Barcelona Crossing Volume 1 (1993) Mehldau, Rossy, Rossy, Sambeat
New York-Barcelona Crossing Volume 2 (1993) Mehldau, Rossy, Rossy, Sambeat
When I Fall In Love (1993) Mehldau & Rossy Trio
Consenting Adults (1994) Mehldau, Turner, Bernstein, Grenadier, Parker
Alone Together (1997) Mehldau, Haden, Konitz
Another Shade of Blue (1999) Mehldau, Haden, Konitz
Close Enough For Love (1999) Fleurine
Don't Explain (2004) Joel Frahm, Brad Mehldau
Love Sublime (2006) Brad Mehldau, Renée Fleming
Metheny/Mehldau (2006) Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny
Metheny Mehldau Quartet (2007) Mehldau, Metheny, Grenadier, Ballard
Love Songs (2010) Brad Mehldau, Anne Sofie Von Otter
Live at Birdland (2011) Mehldau, Haden, Konitz, Motian
Modern Music (2011) Kevin Hays, Mehldau, comp. Patrick Zimmerli
As sideman
A Good Thing (1992) - Allen Mezquida
Downtown Sounds (1992 Criss Cross Jazz) saxophonist Grant Stewart
Moodswing (1994) - Joshua Redman
Moving In (1996, Concord) - Chris Potter
Timeless Tales for Changing Times (1998) - Joshua Redman
12 Bar Blues (1998, Atlantic) - Scott Weiland
Vine (1999, FSNT) - Chris Cheek
The Water Is Wide (2000, ECM) - Charles Lloyd
Hyperion With Higgins (2001, ECM) - Charles Lloyd
Works For Me (2001, Verve) - John Scofield
American Dreams (Verve, 2002) with Charlie Haden and Michael Brecker
Man of Many Colors (2002, Criss Cross Jazz) - Walt Weiskopf
Alegria (2003, Verve) - Wayne Shorter
Like a Dream (2004, CryptoGramophone) - Darek Oleszkiewicz
Deep Song (2005, Verve) - Kurt Rosenwinkel
Blues Cruise (2005, FSNT) - Chris Cheek
Pilgrimage (2006, Telarc) - Michael Brecker
With All My Heart (2004, BMG Music) - Harvey Mason
San Francisco (2008, Sunny Side Records) - Fleurine
Not by Chance (2009, Anzic Records) - Joe Martin
Israeli Song (2010, Anzic Records) - Eli Degibri
Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil (1997)
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Space Cowboys (2000)
Million Dollar Hotel (2000)
Ma Femme Est une Actrice (2001)
"Unfaithful" (2002)
Mehldau's "When It Rains", the opening track on Largo (2002), and "Young at Heart" appear in the 2006 film The Lake House but not on the accompanying soundtrack itself.

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