Saturday, March 8, 2014

Brad Mehldau Trio Ode Nonesuch 2012

Ode, a stellar collection of originals specifically written for this lineup of all stars!
Brent Black /
Brad Mehldau...Not a big fan and not because I have anything negative to say about Mehldau's talent but my taste simply runs to the more Latin side of the acoustic trio setting. That being said, Ode may well be the finest trio recording for Brad Mehldau. Slightly whimsical in nature this aptly titled collection of originals are truly songs about things. Up to this juncture in Mehldau's career he had involvement in a myriad of ensembles with varying degrees of harmonic intention and the focus seemed to be somewhat missing in spots.
The opener "M.B." is an ode to the late Michael Brecker. Played at an occasional breakneck pace and with a deceptively subtle contoured melody, this trio immediately functions as one. There is a soulful swagger to the more open ended "Dream Sketch" while "Stan the Man" is a burning tune fierce in lyrical direction and execution. Mehldau's two handed triumph here might have some pianists rethinking their career path.  
While Brad Mehldau loses my attention in some of his more eclectic work, The Brad Mehldau Trio is simply sublime. The whimsical "Ode" sums up the spirit of the release well. An ode to odes, things that are important to Brad Mehldau be they his wife, son or Kurt Rosenwinkel. Ode succeeds of every possible level.

Track Listing: M.B.; Ode; 26; Dream Sketch; Bee Blues; Twiggy; Kurt Vibe; Stan the Man; Wyatt's Eulogy For George Hanson; Aquaman; Days of Dilbert Dilaney.

Personnel: Brad Mehldau: piano; Larry Grenadier: bass; Jeff Ballard: drums.