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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Richly nuanced playing
I bought this CD in the Virgin Megastore in Times Square (just, it turns out, around the corner from where it had been recorded) during a brief visit to Manhattan last week. I liked the idea of these two musicians playing together, and for the most part, this lives up to expectations. Metheny dominates the writing, but the two of them interact generously on the duets -...
Published on 18 May 2007 by Jeremy Walton

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelmed
As a Metheny fan and a new listener to Mehldau, I was a little disappointed by this album. My only previous experience of Mehldau was Live in Tokyo, which I found a bit sterile and constricted, pure maybe but lacking passion. I was looking to this duet to realign my impression of his playing with that of his many vociferous fans.

With the exception of Make...
Published on 24 May 2007 by Jules


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Richly nuanced playing, 18 May 2007
By 
Jeremy Walton (Sidmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Metheny Mehldau (Audio CD)
I bought this CD in the Virgin Megastore in Times Square (just, it turns out, around the corner from where it had been recorded) during a brief visit to Manhattan last week. I liked the idea of these two musicians playing together, and for the most part, this lives up to expectations. Metheny dominates the writing, but the two of them interact generously on the duets - I particularly like the two numbers with acoustic guitar ("Summer Day" and "Make Peace"), while the addition of the rhythm section on "Ring Of Life" and "Say The Brother's Name" drives things along in a muscular fashion.

I was struck by how this ensemble sounds nothing like Metheny's work with his more regular musicians (e.g. his 1996 Quartet set with Lyle Mays, Steve Rodby and Paul Wertico); instead, I'm reminded of the sound that the Esbjorn Svensson Trio made when Metheny was sitting in with them in live shows a few years ago. There are many riches on this record that repay careful listening - for example, the "My Funny Valentine" quote on the romantic "Find Me In Your Dreams" and the tough backbeats on "Ring Of Life". A great record, well worth waiting for.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff, 16 Feb 2007
By 
Baz (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Metheny Mehldau (Audio CD)
I wonder if the folks who give this album less than five stars are listening to the same ablum as I have for the past week commuting to work and back... Obviously not. I've lost count of the number of times I've listened to this and there's still plenty to discover and get the juices flowing. One thing seems clear; both guys bring their own superb musicianship and individuality to the album and the whole is without doubt greater than the sum of the parts - and minus any gratuitous noodling or empty virtuosity (perish the thought). Just great jazz from two of the best. One of my albums for the desert island. Very highly recommended. More, please...
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars overly fidgety, 1 Oct 2006
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This review is from: Metheny Mehldau (Audio CD)
both play well but these are not the best tunes either of the players have come up with...a great combination on paper but.....

Mehldau is too fidgety throughout the cd and cannot let the spaces smile ~ if metheny plays the tune, Mehldau goes into double time; if Mehldau slows down, Metheny goes into double time ! Both are cautious with their obvious genius for melodic rambling. There are some beautiful moments and impeccable playing

but it never quite gets to the levels that both are capable of..... to sum up: tentative, skilful, expected.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars slow burn, 16 Oct 2006
By 
M. Deverill "jazz north east" (Newcastle upon Tyne) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Metheny Mehldau (Audio CD)
maybe overlong and at times tentative but some moments of magic

not all tracks work and the cd gets off to slow start - the highlight for me is track 10 - here they both open up and meldhau's playing is superb in the middle few minutes

if you like metheny definitely worth a go - if you are a meldhau acolyte then maybe you will find the playing a bit restrained at times

ive seen both players live, meldhau very recently and would still recommend to the piano types out there
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sounds for Sore Ears!, 5 Dec 2008
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This review is from: Metheny Mehldau (Audio CD)
`Metheny/Mehldau'

`Metheny/Mehldau' makes a massive contribution to the discographies of each of its leaders and would be a welcome addition to the collections of fans of its participants. It is a balanced collection of tunes and would enthral all but the coldest heart.

The solos taken by each musician on Mehldau's `Unrequited' have a purity that suggests through composition rather than improvisation. Mehldau is a delicate player and Metheny's own sensibilities are a matter of record but this meeting of like minds provides the listener with a fresh take on the guitar/piano duet. It is interesting to note the evident influence that Jim Hall has had on Metheny's playing. Hall, never an overly technical player, has always painted minimalistically, rather in the spirit of Bill Evan's famous `Kind Of Blue' essay. Metheny shares the mantle of a player who can achieve a great deal with a little. His use of unison double-stops (playing the same note on two different strings simultaneously) is unique and highly effective in bringing emotion into his playing. But this is not the two-dimensional emotions of a Pink Floyd solo but something considerably deeper.

Metheny's `Ahmid-6' is a classic Metheny construct; the harmonies of the composition take the listener back to the guitarist's time with Gary Burton while the hints of Coltrane's `Giant Steps' recall his `Trio '99' period.

`Summer Day', a title that could apply equally effectively to about half of the Metheny back catalogue, features Metheny on a beautifully recorded acoustic guitar (built by Linda Manzer?). The interplay between the two acoustic instruments is delightfully sympathetic, the timbres blending to create a warmth that envelopes. The sheer musicality of these two men is an example to many other so called musicians who should hang their heads in self-indulgent shame.

`Ring Of Life' adds Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums, taking the band sound back to the earliest line up of the Pat Metheny Group although the Metheny tune is more `This Way Up' than `American Garage'. Metheny's guitar sound never ceases to enthral; its timeless universality is probably the main reason for Metheny's longevity. It is always intriguing to note how Metheny can execute complex and sophisticated lines without sounding like he is showboating in the way that some of his contemporaries do.

Mehldau's `Legend' is another tone poem, brooding and solemn, whilst `Find Me In Your Dreams' takes the mood even further into melancholy. Beautifully executed and a credit to the reticence of each musician. Less is definitely more.

`Say The Brothers Name' first appeared on a 1993 Blue Note CD Metheny recorded with John Scofield called `I Can See Your House From Here'. The version recorded for this latest CD is warmer; the presence of Grenadier's double bass in place of Steve Swallow's electric may be a contributing factor, as may Ballard's more conventional drumming. A rhythmically sophisticated tune, its Latin influenced groove, lightly rendered initially but building to a simmering heat, defines the performance and Metheny and Mehldau respond enthusiastically to the raised dynamic.

`Bachelors III', unsurprisingly delivered in waltz-time, has all the hallmarks of a Metheny composition. The guitarist's tunes always have a habit of sounding simpler than they really are and, for those musicians that try, it is not until they attempt to perform them that they become aware of the relative complexity of the structures and harmonies. Despite its twists and turns, Metheny makes light work of the changes and weaves his melodic magic throughout. Mehldau is equally comfortable with the detail having been working on Metheny compositions since he was 13 years old.

`Annie's Bittersweet Cake', the third and final Mehldau composition on this cd, sounds like Mehldau writing in the style of Metheny. The composition is reminiscent of some of the guitarist's recent work with the Pat Metheny Group, particularly the longer form works, and fits well as part of this package. `Make Peace', which closes the CD, features Metheny on baritone guitar (like a conventional guitar but tuned down a fourth), its inherent warmth bringing the CD to a wholly satisfying conclusion.

Top drawer! If you like Metheny, buy it. If you like Mehldau, buy it. If you are not sure about either musician, buy it. If you don't like either musician, why have you been reading this for the last 15 minutes and buy it anyway!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and intelligent, 23 Oct 2007
By 
R. Clark (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Metheny Mehldau (Audio CD)
I have never heard Mehldau play before I bought the CD. I have a lot of Pat Metheny's music and adore the way he plays. I am amazed by this collection and bowled over by the pairing of these two individuals and the music they have produced. The music sounds so simple and yet it is very intelligently played and superbly melodic. Some of the tracks are more enjoyable than others but it is generally pure pleasure to hear and is quite moving in parts. Just brilliant.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 24 Aug 2007
By 
M. Bamford (stamford, lincs, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Metheny Mehldau (Audio CD)
You can see why Metheny was so excited about playing with Mehldau, it must have been something akin to Miles Davis' excitement about playing with the young Tony Williams. The playing throughout this CD is superb - but the standout track has to be "Make Peace" - the composition reaches the emotional heights of "Are you going with me?" and the piano playing is technically breathtaking.

I agree with the previous reviewer in that this CD belongs on the same pile as the duet with Charlie Haden, but for different reasons. Both are duets were the players are coming from the same place and so the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Contrast this with the Metheny/Scofield album which was frustratingly disjointed as it was made by two very different musicians.

If you already have the Metheny/Mehldau quartet album don't hesitate to buy this as well - they're both essential but I think this one just edges it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelmed, 24 May 2007
This review is from: Metheny Mehldau (Audio CD)
As a Metheny fan and a new listener to Mehldau, I was a little disappointed by this album. My only previous experience of Mehldau was Live in Tokyo, which I found a bit sterile and constricted, pure maybe but lacking passion. I was looking to this duet to realign my impression of his playing with that of his many vociferous fans.

With the exception of Make Peace, which is a beautiful and moving piece, I was fairly untouched by this album. I am worried that I seem to be the only music lover who does not heap praise on Mehldau, but the tentative and constricted playing is what I notice most. As a firm Keith Jarrett fan, maybe I am looking for the wrong thing.

Please buy the album and decide for yourself, but for me this goes on the same pile as Metheny's duet with Charlie Haden: a bit slow, a bit pedestrian, a little uninspiring.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album, 22 May 2009
This review is from: Metheny Mehldau (Audio CD)
I would say that even if you are not a dedicated fan of Metheny/Mehldau music, this collaboration is something you'll have to hear. Ten cuts in total - three of them are written by Mehldau and seven - by Metheny. Only two of the cuts are supported by rhythm section (bass - Lary Grenadier & drums - Jeff Ballard); the other eight are duets. You will be able to recognize both man's compositional style. Although you will find a lot of upper tempo moments, I would say that the whole album feeling is predominantly lyrical, or if the word is not exact - you will have the infallible feeling of facing very sophisticated music, which flows trough you without any effort or tension.
I would say this is a must-have.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Alibi Music... waste of time to listen to, 14 Sep 2012
This review is from: Metheny Mehldau (Audio CD)
Two guys who have often enough provided good modern jazz/ambient music seem to have bored each other. This music is far from being anything special. To my opinion it might be better to listen to the wind playing and howling outside your window than to buy such an uninspired cd filled with stuff that has been heard in one or another way a thousand times like. In times of daily rising prices for food, water, rents, gasoline and medicine perhaps you should start to think about throwing your money out of the window. Not a glimpse of creativity or effort in this circle of songs. Far far lightyears away from "Missouri Sky", "Offramp" or "Travels". Folks, sisters, you'd better listen to the one and only lonely Roy Buchanan, the first Mike Oldfield albums or Neil Young's "Decades", Sixto Rodriguez's three CDs or to Pascal Comelade, CCR and Stevie Wonders great classics. Feel, think instead of buy buy...
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