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Brad Mehldau live in Marciac
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!