Places

Places

5.0 1
by Brad Mehldau
     
 

This is a lovely album. A grand piano rarely sings so beautifully as it does in the presence of Brad Mehldau.Places, really a suite of linked variations,is full of moments of soaring, unabashed lyricism. There is no room for harsh dissonance in Mehldau's vocabulary, only fluid lyricism. And his melodies dip and glide and soar in triple meter -- he loves the…  See more details below

Overview

This is a lovely album. A grand piano rarely sings so beautifully as it does in the presence of Brad Mehldau.Places, really a suite of linked variations,is full of moments of soaring, unabashed lyricism. There is no room for harsh dissonance in Mehldau's vocabulary, only fluid lyricism. And his melodies dip and glide and soar in triple meter -- he loves the jazz waltz, that most infectious time signature which never seems capable of coming to rest on the ground. About half the numbers are solos, on the rest, Mehldau is supported by a trio. There is little sense of disruption as the solo and trio numbers alternate; Larry Grenadier does a perfect imitation of Mahldaus own left hand on the bass, which merely frees Mahldau up to concentrate on the upper register. Jorge Rossy's drum work is unintrusive and tasteful -- brushes, cymbals, and a gentle tom tom just where they should be to support Mehldau's voice. The spotlight throughout is on the lambent melodic runs in Mehldau's right hand, melodies which usually begin with a burst of brightness only to turn poignantly to shades of sadness and longing. There is an isolated bluesy turn in "29 Psalms," but for the most part Mehldau's playing is informed less by the blues than by classical music. Moments in "Los Angeles II" are actually reminiscent of a Chopin etude - with Mehldaus rapidly shifting, rolling bass runs and fills over an isolated, singing right hand. In other places, the rolling triple meters and plangent melodies bring to mind a Mendelsohn barcarolle. Few musicians can evoke fragile, troubling emotions with such grace and unfailing refinement.Very highly recommended.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richard S. Ginell
Brad Mehldau is becoming a more interesting, more thought-provoking, more individualistic musician with each release -- breaking away from the same old models, finding new ones to integrate into his own personality. The 11 compositions on this CD were conceived on the road, and only midway through did Mehldau realize that they developed similar ideas. Which indeed they do, seizing upon repeated riffing and vamps that Keith Jarrett has explored and sending them in cogent directions. The designated theme is travel; each selection bears the name of a place or mood, and the catchy, contemplative "Los Angeles" serves as the album's bookends, as well as a solo pit stop in the center. Like Elegiac Cycle, Places works like a song cycle; a unified, beautifully proportioned conception, with lots of rambunctious, swinging outbreaks amidst the contemplation. The titles in themselves mean nothing as far as the content of the music is concerned -- or so he writes in another lengthy, provocative liner note. Rather, the album is about the constancy of his personality and musical language, taking all of your personal mental baggage with you wherever you travel. This is an important album, one that anyone interested in piano jazz ought to check out.
Entertainment Weekly - Josef Woodard
Always, his compelling blend of lyricism and muscularity affirms his role as a gentle giant.
Downbeat
The pianist has rapidly developed into a major voice on his instrument, and Places goes a long way in explaining that feat.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/05/2000
Label:
Warner Bros / Wea
UPC:
0093624769323
catalogNumber:
47693

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