Elegiac Cycle

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richard S. Ginell
Brad Mehldau's first solo piano album is not only his best record to date, it is one of the most searching, most inventive solo piano albums since Keith Jarrett's best solo concerts of the 1970s, and it throws virtually the whole Maybeck series into a cocked hat, too. For one thing, it is a truly unified cycle of mostly improvised reminiscences, starting from a Chopin prelude-like base on "Bard," peaking dynamically with "Trailer Park Ghost," and cycling right back to the "Bard" theme seamlessly, inevitably, at the close. It is also radically different from so many jazz solo piano records because Mehldau's primary thrust is contrapuntal, with both hands playing ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richard S. Ginell
Brad Mehldau's first solo piano album is not only his best record to date, it is one of the most searching, most inventive solo piano albums since Keith Jarrett's best solo concerts of the 1970s, and it throws virtually the whole Maybeck series into a cocked hat, too. For one thing, it is a truly unified cycle of mostly improvised reminiscences, starting from a Chopin prelude-like base on "Bard," peaking dynamically with "Trailer Park Ghost," and cycling right back to the "Bard" theme seamlessly, inevitably, at the close. It is also radically different from so many jazz solo piano records because Mehldau's primary thrust is contrapuntal, with both hands playing independent single lines, not the usual bop runs with harmonies or stacked chords. Perhaps Mehldau's playing doesn't swing here as much as one would like, but it is always intelligent, often endearingly melodic, always technically resourceful "Memory's Tricks," for example, turns into a two-part invention, and even when he breaks off some startling change, you always sense the shape and direction of each piece. Here, he throws off the shackles of the Bill Evans model once and, hopefully, for all, employing classical models other than impressionists Bach, Brahms, Chopin, and Schumann come to mind, and in doing so, he makes a big mark on the future of jazz solo piano. And Mehldau is not only an unusually gifted pianist, he is also an intriguing thinker; his long, rambling, wide-ranging essay in the booklet is one of the most interesting artist-penned liner notes in memory.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/8/1999
  • Label: Warner Bros / Wea
  • UPC: 093624735724
  • Catalog Number: 47357
  • Sales rank: 142,154

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Brad Mehldau Primary Artist, Primary Artist
Technical Credits
Brad Mehldau Producer
Alan Yoshida Mastering
Bernie Kirsch Engineer
Lawrence Azerrad Art Direction
Michael Davenport Executive Producer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    WHAT THEY SAY IS TRUE

    Yes, if you like Keith Jarrett, you'll love this. Also if you like classical solo piano of a spare, lean nature you'll probably like this. It's spare and lean, but also very lyrical. Some parts bring tears to your eyes. It's that beautiful. It makes you want to just sit and listen, to really pay attention to it. This is my first Mehldau CD and I sure plan to get more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    a landmark in piano solo playing

    Finally there¿s a piano solo album in my collection that can match Keith Jarrett¿s 'Facing You¿ (1972). It¿s Brad Mehldau¿s `Elegiac Cycle¿. This album ¿released in 1999- is a revelation. This guy¿s playing takes your breath away. On `Elegiac Cycle¿ Mehldau plays improvisations inspired by the theme of `loss¿. His playing is daring and adventurous, and because he has a perfect sense of structure, shape and direction as well, he never gets lost and keeps everything along the way in perfect balance. And on top of this, his playing is deeply moving. In Mehldau¿s playing we can discern a lot of influences from the realms of classical and jazz music. I hear a lot of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, but, much more important, I hear foremost a pianist with a distinct style of his own. His classical training seems to contribute a lot to this distinctness of his playing. On `Elegiac Cycle¿ I hear the influence of Bach¿s contrapuntal style, especially in `Memory¿s Tricks¿. I hear some Chopin in 'Bard', a bit of Debussy in `Rückblick¿, and each and every time it¿s a big sensation to hear the opening and ending-segment of `Trailer Park Ghost¿, which sounds in my ears as the perfect blending of the enraged energy of Schubert¿s `Der Strom¿ and the odd-mystical melodic intervals in the middle section of Scriabin¿s piano-piece `Poème vers la flamme¿. In the longest piece on the cd, `Goodbye Storyteller¿, Mehldau reveals all his poetic qualities -using a Rachmaninoff-touch here and there- and makes a deeply moving and unsurpassable statement about the way `beauty and loss¿ are interconnected. Brad Mehldau¿s `Elegiac Cycle¿ is my favourite album of 1999, and most certainly one of my all time favourite albums. It¿s a masterpiece, and nobody with a serious interest in good and enriching contemporary piano music can afford to miss this album. Pieter de Rooij (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

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