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Ode


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here it goes... all new compositions from Mr. Mehldau
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...
Published on 17 Mar 2012 by A. Zona

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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars At a loss
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...
Published on 25 Mar 2012 by Hollis Byfield


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here it goes... all new compositions from Mr. Mehldau, 17 Mar 2012
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A. Zona - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ode (Audio CD)
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).

Summing up, another beautiful and intriguing trio release from the Brad Mehldau trio. Just keep in mind that if you are after the Mehldau trio playing jazz on well-known pop and rock tunes as they have done in other albums, you might not enjoy these 75 minutes of thoughtful and adventurous jazz.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it. I like it a lot., 19 Sep 2012
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Mr. T. Edwards "treble_clef_music" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ode (Audio CD)
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
2.0 out of 5 stars At a loss, 25 Mar 2012
This review is from: Ode (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
5.0 out of 5 stars THE EXCELLENCE OF THE BRAD MEHLDAU TRIO: SPLENDID PERFORMANCES OF ORIGINALS, 20 Mar 2012
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RBSProds "rbsprods" (Deep in the heart of Texas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ode (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. And perhaps best of all is "Twiggy" dedicated to Brad's wife, jazz singer Fleurine, which is both beautiful and complex, with Brad's hot solo driven along by a skipping gait, some single note 'comping', and latin accents underneath from Ballad; likewise for "Days of Dilbert Delaney", dedicated to his son, which is 9 minutes of trio cohesion and excellence; and the unique "Wyatt's Eulogy for George Hanson", a wonderful, rather free-ish 5-note invention wherein each player supports and contributes simultaneously. The Brad Mehldau Trio's first studio recording in 7 years is superb, generous in time, and gets my HIghest Recommendation. Five SMOKING Stars! (This review is based on an mp3 download. 11 Tracks; Time: 75:24) (Note: Brad Mehldau won the DownBeat Reader's Poll as top jazz pianist in 2011 and was #3 in the International Critics poll.)
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11 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars All brains and no heart?, 16 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Ode (Audio CD)
Once again I find myself writing a not-so favourable review for an artiste I have a tremendous amount of respect for. It's incontrovertible that Mr Mehldau knows his way round a piano and is an excellent songwriter. It's just that his recordings always tend to leave me feeling rather cold. It's like they're all brains and no heart, or all technique and no soul. They never really move me. In fact the only time I've really enjoyed his playing was when he collaborated with Pat Metheny a few years back, especially on Quartet. Then there have also been moments of sheer brilliance when he's performed on other people's albums: Charlie Haden's American Dreams springs to mind, as does Kurt Rosenwinkel's Deep Song and John Scofield's Works for Me.

Maybe I'm just not musically intellectual enough to 'get' him. I've had a similar issue with Keith Jarrett so he's in good company. All I know for sure is that unless he does something radically different like his recent amazing project with Kevin Hays, Modern Music, this is the last Brad Mehldau CD I will be buying. I'm not a rich man and I don't have money to throw away on CDs I'll rarely if ever play.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BRAD,TWIGGY,KURT,STAN,GEORGE,DILBERT DELANEY LARRY,JEFF AND AQUAMAN!!!!, 20 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Ode (Audio CD)
Seven long years have passed since the last trio album,although he has been prolific in other areas,does he need to go back?this album is a slight dissappointment

"MB" starts off the procedings and is a tribute to Michael Brecker,its a long meandering track that doesn't seem to go anywhere,and was written about 6 months after his passing.
"Ode" as Brad puts it,is an ode to ode,much more of a tune to this,and features some fine Bass playing.
"26" is avery typical example of how Brad knows a melody when he hears it,the albums best moment yet.
"Dreamsketch" is a voyage into the interretation of dreams and what they mean,and in consequence is more reflective than what has gone before.
"Bee blues" is just a filler track that goes nowhere.
"Twiggy" is an ode for his wife,and is a rather good trak,melodic and flowing.
"Kurt vibe" is dedicated to Kurt Rosenwinkle,and has a darker ambience to it,lovely bass solo on this.
"Stan the man"is more highspeed playing by all memebers of the band,great drumming and playing all round,but pointless.
"Eulogy for George Hanson"is the tribute to the character Jack Nicholson played in "Easy rider"and is the longest track on the album,and is one of the best as well,taken at a quiter pace it keeps up the standard throughout it 9 minutes plus.
"Aquaman"is a tribute to a comicstrip character who could speak to dolphins,and again is another more traditional track."Days of Dilbert Delney"is a tribute to his son,
I must admit.i prefer the Meldhau who de constructs other peoples tunes,and then restructures them but this album has alot going for it,but is just missing something.

BRAD MELDHAU.....PIANO
LARRY GRENADIER.....BASS
JEFF BALLARD.....DRUMS

RELEASED 2012
NONESUCH
75.27
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Ode by Brad Mehldau (Audio CD - 2012)
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