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on 28 March 2011
After Elegiac Cycle (recorded in studio in 1999) and Live in Tokyo (recorded live in 2003), this Live in Marciac (recorded live on August 2nd 2006) is the third solo piano album from Brad Mehldau. About 100 minutes of music divided in two CDs (60+40) plus a DVD containing the video recording of the same concert with the same tracks in the two CDs except for the last one. The ingredients are basically the same of most of other Mehldau's albums: a beautiful blend of original compositions, renowned jazz standards, rock-pop tunes. I have to confess that I'm a big fan of Brad Mehldau, I have all his CDs and seen him live in concert several times. So I was looking forward to listening this new release but honestly I was not expecting results much different than those already heard. Primarily because the repertoire proposed is mostly made of compositions already in his previous solo or trio recordings. However I was wrong and nicely surprised: Mehldau plays here more unrestrained than ever, more dynamic than ever, always full of energy. Each track is reinvented and a new perspective comes out. A real delight. In addition the recorded sound is great and the piano sound is beautifully captured (warm, natural and with a full and realistic dynamic range), better than the previous Live in Tokyo.

The DVD is a nice plus and its image quality is fairly good. Frankly there in not much going on, just Brad sitting and playing the piano, close-ups are conventional and you won't discover much about the way he moves his fingers along the piano keyboard. The DVD audio is only 2.0 Dolby Digital (two-channel stereo) and I found it of inferior quality as compared to the stereo tracks on the two CDs. I would consider the DVD just a bonus, but I won't recommend buying this Live in Marciac just for the video. Listen and enjoy the two CDs instead!
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on 27 February 2011
Brad Mehldau's new album is superb. As a musician he has it all: great technique, fierce intelligence and a sense of adventure in his choice of material. He plays wonderfully with others as his trio work and collaborations with Pat Metheny show, but playing live solo seems to bring out something extra special. Right up there with the previously released and also stunning Live In Tokyo.
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on 26 April 2011
Quite why it has taken 5 years for this two cd/one dvd set to be released is something of a mystery, but the wait has been well worthwhile.
Those familiar with the work of Mehldau will need no recommendation from me. However,what the title does not reveal is that this is a SOLO album and in my opinion Mehldau isat his best in this setting He is also before a live audience which seems to inspire him.My previous Mehldau favourite was 2003's Live in Tokyo which was also a solo effort.Although Brad Mehldau is a fine composer and there are several excellent examples here such as "Unrequited',I think he is at his best when he interprets other composers songs.There are the predictable standards such as Cole Porters 'It's Alright With Me' and Jazz Standards such as Bobby Timmon's 'Dat Dere' but what I am most impressed with are his interpretatons of less predictable items.He is an exquisite player of Nick Drake's songs and like the Tokyo session this contains a superb [and suptly different]treatment of "Things Behind The Sun' This makes you realise hat a great songwriter Drake was. What Mehldau seems to be able to do is to bring out the essence of a song rather than try to impress with how clever his technique is.He achieves the same with such diverse as Kurt Cobain;s 'Lithium' and Radioheads 'Exit Music' Even more impressive is the way in which he breaths new life into such wee worn pieces as My Favourite Things and 'My Secret Love'..a thing of delicate exquisite beauty.
The accompanying Dvd covers some of the concert and a transcription of 'Resignation' Highly recommended.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 June 2011
Like several other reviewers, my previous peak of enjoyment for Brad Mehldau was Live in Tokyo, an extraordinary album that balances his smart, stylish approach to performance & repertoire with a warm-hearted lyricism. Nick Drake's "Behind the Sun" was a case in point, as was "Someone To Watch Over Me" and the slow section of his mighty 20-minute rendition of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android". Live in Marciac is not another album like Live in Tokyo.

Consider the track here called "Exit Music (For A Film)". This is not the straight arrangement of the Radiohead track from Mehldau's previous trio recordings; instead, he introduces the theme from the Radiohead song over a ostinato that makes it seem almost an afterthought. The earlier versions are fairly polite: this one is muscular and uncompromising.

For much of the first half of this concert Mehldau focuses on his own originals, and his approach tends towards austere shows of jazz counterpoint that are technically astounding. Moments of lyrical calm flash by in a few bars during such pieces. Mehldau gives notice that he is here to dazzle & overpower the listener, not necessarily to befriend him (or her).

In the second half, there are some very interesting standard performances. "Behind the Sun" gets a more aggressive and rhythmic reading that takes it further from the original. Nirvana's "Lithium" is played upbeat but with angular dissonances that suggest mania rather than depression. "Lilac Wine" (perhaps now best known in Jeff Buckley's version) is stripped of unnecessary drama and converted eventually into a blues number.

The Beatles' "Martha My Dear" (in a version very close to the one on the Day Is Done album) is almost Baroque in its counterpoint ... you expect it at any moment to break into a full fugue. "My Favourite Things" - the most laid-back track here - is slowed down and given the evening's most calming performance. On the CD only, "Dat Dere" is a delightful afterthought to a series of cover versions that clearly wowed the audience with their invention.

There is more than a hint of the cerebral about this album, something emphasized by the presence on the DVD of a complete transcription of "Resignation": a nice extra for which Nonesuch Records are to be commended. Certainly the DVD as a whole helps to lay bare Mehldau's fearless technique and the constant ingenuity of his improvisation.

Nevertheless, although I unhesitatingly give this album 5 stars, I would warn you that this does not fall at the accessible end of the Mehldau spectrum. I would recommend Live in Tokyo or The Art of the Trio Volume 3: Songs as a better starting point, unless you are a committed jazz fan keen to see what a virtuoso can do at the height of his powers.
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on 23 March 2011
This CD/DVD encapsulates Brad Mehldau's great musical talent and ablity to generate outstanding harmonic and
rhythmic sound that not only moves one but also transports the listener into a world of ecstatic sensations.
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on 28 April 2011
This is a pretty late release of a live Mehldau solo outing in France in 2006. But what a concert! His brilliance as an improviser is breathtaking, especially when you see him at work, on the DVD covering all but one of the tracks on the CDs. This is mesmerizing playing which repays repeated listening.
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on 24 June 2011
I might be a Brad Mehldau addict but I can't find a more adventourus and skilled pianoplayer of today. In his own right he beats everything on the scene.
He expand his music over the whole span of genres no one have done yet.

Great listening
Rolf L
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on 13 April 2011
Sorry Brad but your music realy needs 'The Trio' I found the music 'Pounding and not the subtle tuneful feel that you usualy exhibit
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