The Art of the Trio, Vol. 2: Live at the Village Vanguardby Brad Mehldau
It takes a certain nerve for a young jazz artist to subtitle an album Live at the Village Vanguard. The title evokes some mighty powerful spirits from the jazz pantheon. John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins. Bill Evans. Joe Henderson. But pianist Brad Mehldau is more than up to this daunting challenge. On this set of standards by the likes of Cole Porter, Thelonious Monk and Henry Mancini, Mehldau exhibits a musical erudition and a technical prowess that belies his youth. Though the obvious comparisons are with Evans and Keith Jarrett, Mehldau has a highly individual style that draws heavily on his classical training. Along with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy, he has made a stunning album of exploratory jazz that holds its own with the great "Live at the Village Vanguard" recordings of the past.
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I find it very hard to think of another young pianist with this kind of individualism and style. Brad¿s genius is displayed wonderfully through his improvisation and his interaction with his marvelous accompanists. The music swings and touches, but more than that is displays Brad¿s artistic accomplishment ¿ music as fine art.