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Ode


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Biography

Jazz pianist BRAD MEHLDAU has recorded and performed extensively since the early 1990s. Mehldau’s most consistent output over the years has taken place in the trio format.

Starting in 1996, his group released a series of five records on Warner Bros. entitled The Art of the Trio. Mehldau also has a solo piano recording entitled Elegiac Cycle, and a record called Places that includes ... Read more in Amazon's Brad Mehldau Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Ode + Where Do You Start + Day Is Done
Price For All Three: £28.41

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Product details

  • Audio CD (12 Mar. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B0071BY1ZQ
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,514 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. M.B. 7:46£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Ode 6:20£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. 26 7:50£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Dream Sketch 7:25£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Bee Blues 6:42£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Twiggy 5:43£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Kurt Vibe 4:54£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Stan The Man 5:24£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Wyatt's Eulogy For George Hanson 9:23£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Aquaman 4:49£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Days Of Dilbert Delaney 9:01£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

Ode is pianist Brad Mehldau's long-awaited new studio set playing trio with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, their first studio recording since this ‘graceful powerhouse’ of a lineup, as the New York Times recently put it, made its Nonesuch debut in 2005 with Day Is Done. This time, however, all the tunes are Mehldau originals, written with Grenadier and Ballard in mind. As the pianist elaborates, "I feel that what they bring to the music in the performance here is inseparable from the tunes themselves. It was music I wrote to play with them specifically."

BBC Review

After over a decade’s eminence as a piano trio leader, Brad Mehldau began to diversify around five years ago, investigating the possibilities provided by expanded settings. He’s also been devoting more time to completely solo performance. Mehldau’s last studio trio album was released as long ago as 2006, and it’s now been four years since the Live set, recorded at New York’s famed Village Vanguard club.

The post-2005 line-up (where drummer Jeff Ballard replaced the long-serving Jorge Rossy) has been comparatively lacking in documentation when compared to the extensive recorded existence of the original trio. So, Ode has been eagerly anticipated, especially in the light of the threesome’s ongoing live reputation.

All of Ode’s material is self-penned, with Mehldau avoiding his accustomed exploration of standards, whether they’re jazz, rock or pop in origin. The current trio has been refining a deeply funky expression, not in the conventional sense of the word, but in their music’s general pneumatic attack. The pulse has been intensifying. Mehldau’s tunes are becoming faster in their pacing, his soloing fluency sympathetically accelerating. Ballard and bassist Larry Grenadier are co-conspirators in this increasing orientation.

On the title-track, Mehldau’s keeping a solid riff rolling with his left hand, leaving his right hand free to dance. The trillings are ever more elaborate. Dream Sketch moves into a bass solo, but the piano and drums are still adding accents and responses. Listening to Stan the Man, it could be said that Mehldau is becoming the new Art Tatum, or even the new Oscar Peterson. He gives the crazed pointillism a rest whilst Grenadier delivers an equally sprinting solo, then the drums tattoo as Mehldau eggs them onward.

The leader is an exceptionally thorough worker, as he chews over a melody’s myriad possibilities, working out variations with staccato finesse. He navigates midway between an expected jazz improvising framework and a more linear pop song format. Each tune usually unwinds with a deeply-rooted logical progression. Momentum is invariably paramount. Melody lines are crucial, but Mehldau is still journeying far beyond their beginnings, once a piece is underway.

All three players are articulating a ceaseless stream of fresh ideas throughout this electrically energised session.

--Martin Longley

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Zona on 17 Mar. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have to admit that I spent much time listening and enjoying quite a lot this last release from the Brad Mehldau Trio. This is actually the first album from Mehldau (piano) with Grenadier (double-bass) and Ballard (drums) where only all new original compositions are played. The last trio album of all original compositions was House On Hill (recorded October 2002 plus two tracks recorded March 2005) with Jorge Rossy (drums) and Grenadier (double-bass). And the similarities with House on Hill are many: moods are floating between cheerful introspection to brisk and ironic melodies, with complex and articulated music always dominating the scene, with less space to groove and free improvisations as compared to the trio live recordings. Mr. Mehldau is for sure easy to recognize, but I find that his music palette is now even richer, with less use of ostinato figures of the left hand, and somewhat borrowing and reinventing ideas of jazz pianists such as Frank Kimbrough, Kenny Werner, Misha Mengelberg, as well as the wit and irony that could be traced back to Thelonious Monk. Grenadier and Ballard are not less than perfects mates for this music. I also find that these new compositions are somewhat recalling those appearing in the Mehldau release Highway Rider. Maybe this is not just a case: the recording dates of Highway Rider and of Ode are very close: even if published now, 8 of the 11 tracks of Ode were recorded on November 2008, just few months before Highway Rider was recorded. Only 3 of the 11 tracks were more recently taped (April 2011).Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Edwards on 19 Sept. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I got very bored of Mehldau's trios after listening to House On Hill from 2006. Also, I was becoming aware that they were becoming better known for their covers more than their original work - much of which was quite forgettable and bland. Bad Plus also suffered from the same fate, despite having some really good original numbers - take Big Eater for instance!

I am so glad I took a punt on this album, knowing it was a nothing but originals. It is a really enjoyable recording and it's plainly obvious we are listening to a trio on top form and having plenty of fun doing it. The irony is, this is probably largely due to the fact that some of the originals here sound like they could be covers of popular songs. They sound so familiar yet different and new at the same time. The themes are very well penned and the interplay between the three of them is so tight and impressive. The improvisations are just wild enough to keep the listener on their toes, whilst still remaining close enough to the feel of the tune. Some of the themes are a bit EST-like*, which is no bad thing.

The recording quality is by far the best so far of Mehldau's output. Every nuance can be heard and the balance is just perfect. I am reconverted to Mehldau's sound again and am eagerly awaiting to hear more from him and them. Also, I hear Bad Plus have a new album out soon...

*Esbjorn Svensson Trio
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Hollis Byfield on 25 Mar. 2012
Format: Audio CD
This is probably the last time I'll buy a new release by the Brad Mehldau Trio. I took the plunge and bought this one because it's a collection of Mehldau originals. Although he acquired a reputation early in his career for his interpretation of what many regarded as left field material (Nick Drake, Radiohead, etc.), I've always preferred his own compositions.

Since the departure of Jorge Rosy from the Trio I've found each subsequent recording less and less interesting. This one is particularly disappointing and I think it does have something to do with the drumming. It's not that Jeff Ballard is a bad drummer; he's clearly a very talented player. Everything swings, but somehow it doesn't breathe. What I used to like about the interplay of the Brad Mehldau Trio - a sort of pensive, rhythmic imagination - is gone. Everything's all a bit too slick and fluent. There's too little dynamic push and pull. The percussion leaves too little space in the soundscape to really savour the individual playing, and the ensemble playing doesn't sound like three people listening attentively enough to each other - Mehldau and Grenadier seems to lie back a bit too comfortably on the big, comfy mattress of Ballard's dependable swing.

All very accomplished but not emotionally interesting enough to draw me back for repeated listenings.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By RSProds TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Mar. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Five BIG Stars!! Exciting, excellent jazz performances. Don't let the title "Ode" fool you, this cooking CD captures one of the tightest, most original trios on the jazz scene today, led by jazz virtuoso pianist & composer Brad Mehldau, with great support & solos from Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums, in mostly blazing, inventive, hard-swinging performances. As explained in the liner notes, this 'all- Mehldau compositions' set contains 'odes' dedicated to family, friends, peers, and even a favorite Jack Nicholson "Easy Rider" movie character. Mehldau uses a thoughtful compositional technique where he writes for each player's strengths, and then lets the performances grow organically into the final rhythmic and harmonic frameworks when they become 'ripe'. The 'best of the best' begins with the tempo-shifting, bluesy "M.B." (for the late, great saxophone titan Michael Brecker) with it's attractive, almost subliminally familiar theme. The lyrical (meta) "Ode" builds beautifully over an insistent Ballard beat. "26" is a sizzling Mehldau performance that cooks for most of the 8 inventive minutes. The quirky "Bee Blues" has Brad playing simultaneous, ambidextrous notes in both theme and solo, with a hip bass solo from Grenadier. The funky "Kurt Vibe" has Grenadier and Mehldau interweaving ideas over Ballad's backbeat. "Stan The Man" has a great Ballad drum solo.Read more ›
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