This boxset of Mehldau's trio recordings represents terrific value for money, and contains some wonderful music along the way. The 7 discs are presented in cardboard fascimile covers of the orignal releases, a decent set of updated liner notes, and come in a less than robust cardboard cover; mine didn't appreciate being shoved through the letterbox too much. But hey ho...
The music on offer here is of the highest quality, ranging from the surprisingly mainstream, instantly accesible performances on volume 1, through to the more serious, self-conscious noodling and extended themes that featured in the later sets; several of them recorded live at the shrine of jazz in New York, the Village Vanguard.
Mehldau's skill lies in taking a range of material from jazz standards to pop and rock, and making them sound as if they belong to a piano-led jazz trio. The Beatles' "Blackbird" is a prime example of this - in lesser hands it could have sounded terribly cheesy, here it works a treat.
For anyone coming fresh to Mehldau's music from this stage of his career, a treat awaits. Now a prolific composer, arranger, recording and touring artist, some of Mehldau's more recent output has been of mixed quality and worth, but a sense of joy and honesty comes through on these trio recordings, which makes them so enjoyable.