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Brad Mehldau – The Art of Solo Piano – Jazz Online
Each solo record has been kind of a turning point for me — an end of one thing, and a beginning of something else. The challenge and the thrill are one and the same — there kehldau no net; there is absolute freedom. But what he is able to say musically as a soloist within the context of each song combined with his improvisations is simply masterful.
Thjngs have several ideas before I go out on the stage, and I usually stick to around half of them. The challenge there though is to make something with integrity — something that has a story to tell.
This is the first scrolling score he made of my music, and since then, he has made one for the scores of two more recent efforts of mine: But I was going out for an encore and thought of it at the last moment, and it turned out to be for me anyways, one of the more compelling performances in the set — it had that story to it; it just kind of unfolded.
His breathtaking command of his instrument is undeniable. Ultimately I think of myself as an improvising jazz musician at the end of the day, and one of my talents I guess is assimilating all of that written stuff and making it part of what I do.
I have interviewed Brad many times over the years but this is the first time we focus exclusively on his approach to his solo work. I listen to it for pleasure and enjoyment, and then a lot of it filters out in my playing.
That can be exciting and rewarding. Tell us about the concept behind the music scroll? The core of your playing successfully balances jazz and classical influences. Philippe Andre is the musician who made this transcription, and it was really fun to view that.
I draw on a lot of classical music, pop and rock music, music from Brazil, and other stuff. Tell us how it compares to your two previous solo recordings, Elegiac Cycle and Live in Tokyoboth personally and musically. Jazz Online put a little m in your life.
Brad Mehldau – The Art of Solo Piano
For instance, if I play something that goes much longer than I originally intended, I will skip something else. I had the idea of maybe presenting it in a scrolling format, as something that musicians, amateur or professional, might find interesting. How do select what pop song to cover? Live in Marciac is your third solo recording. Mehldau is a favogite and brilliant player who maintains one of the finest trios in all of jazz.
Live In Marciac is the beginning of a freer approach, I would say, and maybe more ease and fluidity in a musical texture with several simultaneous voices. But there are also great things that have come out of the newer technology, and there was this opportunity to see and hear my music in a different way. Virtuosic pianist Brad Melhdau first made his mark in the jazz world in with his debut recording Introducing Brad Mehldau and then in the classical arena in with his release Love Sublime with vocalist Renee Fleming.
Throughout your career you have put your own spin on pop songs written by artists such as Elliott Smith, The Beatles, Nick Drake, Radiohead, James Taylor and many others. It is the most related to where I am now as a solo player.
His blend of jazz and classical styles, the American Songbook, unique covers of pop tunes and originals all seamlessly blend into a fulfilling and varied musical experience. Can you describe how you negotiate between the two styles in your playing?