A glimpse into great­ness

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - COR­MAC LARKIN

high­est lev­els, to record ev­ery con­cert. The mi­cro­phones are there any­way, and the pres­ence of the au­di­ence gives the per­for­mance an in­ten­sity that is hard to repli­cate alone in a stu­dio.

For 10 Years Solo Live, the pi­anist sur­veyed 40 such record­ings, and the 32 tracks here, amount­ing to 300 min­utes of mu­sic, are culled from 19 dif­fer­ent Euro­pean per­for­mances, from the Wig­more Hall in Lon­don in 2004 to the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels last year.

The selections are spread over four CDs (or eight LPs for the vinyly in­clined) that each un­fold like com­plete con­certs. And though un­der­stand­ably, Mehldau has se­lected only per­for­mances that he thinks bear re­peated lis­ten­ing, there is a re­mark­able con­sis­tency – not nec­es­sar­ily in the reper­toire, which ranges freely from Jo­hannes Brahms to Jerome Kern to Kurt Cobain – but in the fe­cun­dity of the pi­anist’s mind. Whether he is play­ing Brahms’s In­ter­mezzo in B-flat ma­jor or a song by his beloved Ra­dio­head, Mehldau is in­stantly recog­nis­able, not only in the vir­tu­oso tech­nique and the as­ton­ish­ing in­de­pen­dence of his hands, but in the in­tel­li­gence with which he de­vel­ops his ma­te­rial, push­ing it through theme and vari­a­tion, ex­am­in­ing and re-ex­am­in­ing a melody un­til it dis­solves in a joy­ous cas­cade of over­lap­ping ideas.

To lis­ten in­tently is to en­gage in the tan­gle of a great mu­si­cian’s mind, one whose in­flu­ence may now be dis­cerned in pretty much ev­ery jazz pi­anist that has come af­ter him. Noth­ing can re­place the thrill of ac­tu­ally be­ing in the room when Mehldau is in the act of cre­ation, but 10 Years Solo Live is a close sec­ond. brad­mehldau.com

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.