Art of the Trio, Vol. 5: Progression

Art of the Trio, Vol. 5: Progression

by Brad Mehldau


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Art of the Trio, Vol. 5: Progression

Brad Mehldau didn't ask that his 1997 debut recording be titled The Art of the Trio. But the moniker stuck, and the four subsequent issues under that name are consequential snapshots of the virtuoso's artistic growth and the evolution and refinement of the group's collective sound. Volume 5 is a double disk, recorded before an enthusiastic, attentive audience after several months on the road; the 13 tunes include three Mehldau originals ("Dream Monk," "Sublation," "Resignation"); covers of "River Man" (Nick Drake) and "Quit" (the Meat Puppets); and a slew of haunting Songbook ballads ("The Folks Who Live on the Hill," "Cry Me a River," "Secret Love," "How Long Has This Been Going On"). With close to a decade as a unit behind them, Mehldau, Grenadier, and Rossy now breathe as one, and they possess an uncanny sense for finding the appropriate tempo(s) and feel. Each piece occupies an emotional space both defined and kaleidoscopic. The trio may switch in a split second from "lead" to support, toggling between rhapsodic lyricism and turbulent Sturm und Drang, juxtaposing odd meters and swing. But Mehldau is the fuel that animates this machine; he combines wizardly technique, an abiding lyricism, and a determination to extract transcendence from every note. He executes with fierce precision and micronically calibrated touch, and his left hand-right hand independence allows him to create inventive countermelodies from seemingly barren soil. For example, he opens the hoary chestnut "Alone Together" with an almost atonal cadenza, on which he spits out rapid-fire sequences of notes from both hands; it's the prelude to a 15-minute exploration of the song's shapes and timbres over an intense 7/4 tempo. He creates challenges on a relatively basic blues ("Sublation"), on which the form rotates between the tonal centers of B and E-flat during the course of the improvisation. Mehldau pulls out all the stops on every tune; the excitement lies in hearing the young master thinking in-the-moment.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/18/2001
Label: Warner Bros / Wea
UPC: 0093624800521
catalogNumber: 48005

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