I am a big Brad Mehldau fan. Ever since his very first album and ever since I first saw him in Montreux in the early 90s. His playing is flawless, groovy, aesthetically perfect and has some Keith Jarrett moments even. But in terms of repertoire and surrounding cast, isn’t it time for some changes? Just asking.
It seems as if this is the 342nd time that he releases a trio record with standards and some contemporary tunes; again with Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard, both of course brilliant sidemen and accompanists. The way Brad deconstructs the songs, like the 10-minute-plus opener “Since I Fell For You”, is fascinating in terms of the way he finally gets back to the melody. Cole Porter‘s “I Concentrate On You” comes across as pretty pleasing and winsome at first when it starts out as a simple samba and then mutates into something glorious and grand. Maybe it’s the wrong time of the year to release an album like this. I will listen to the record again in November. It just doesn’t grab me at this time and I have the feeling that there is a certain overabundance of this kind of material from him, especially since the release of the 4-CD set of live material released last winter.
Jon Brion‘s “Little Person” and Charlie Parker‘s “Cheryl” both get a swinging treatment and with “These Foolish Things”, Brad gets back to Jarrett-y moodiness and expression. He is bending and stretching like we’ve known him for on the Beatles classic “And I Love Her” and the McCartney piece “My Valentine”. It’s all like “been there done that” or never change a winning team. Maybe he switches to the Rhodes or Moog on his next project. I wouldn’t mind.