March 1997

Brad Mehldau
The Art of the Trio, Volume 1
Warner Brothers

Mehldau, best known for his sideman work with tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman, shows a delicate, introspective side on this, his second Warner Bros. album. The feeling of the pianist's trio is reminiscent of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett. "Blame It On My Youth," the opener, shows Mehldau's willingness to let the music breathe and develop slowly. "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" swings fluidly in the manner of Evans. "Ron's Place" is, again, spare, with runs developed in the springboarding linear style of Jarrett. On "Lucid," he seems to try to hang on to each note before releasing it. The piano-and-drums trades at the end of this performance are seamless.The trio is interactive, but it is not totally democratic; Mehldau is clearly in charge. The group's restraint and taste differ from the brash approach prevalent in today's jazz market. Very refreshing.

Originally published in March 1997
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