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Mehldau & Frahm Relive the Good Ol’ Days

When I get together with old high school friends we usually just talk trash about who suffered the worst swirlies in the boys locker room. It figures that when talented high school pals like Brad Mehldau and Joel Frahm get together years after graduation they end up doing something cool like recording an album together.

As you can tell from the faded photo above, Mehldau and Frahm were a couple of stylin’ dungeon masters back in the day. What looks like an underage Brad Mehldau (left) holds what looks like an empty bottle of beer, but for some reason it’s Joel who’s wearing the “I’m happy” smile. Nice bowl cuts, boys.

Frahm met Mehldau at their Hartford, Conn. high school. They scored a weekly gig playing together at a local club when they were both 17 and kept the gig for two years. Frahm says of a young, barely-legal-to-drive Mehldau: “The music coming out of him seemed inevitable and organic, but I didn’t realize until I moved to New York that Brad was more advanced than most players on the scene.” And Mehldau says of his friend Frahm: “What he had from early on was a certain fluidity in his line, an easy grace. The effect on the listener is to put you at ease in that kind of swinging context. It has the same effect on me playing with him – the ideas come out more easily for me.”

If the fellows’ mutual understanding for each other translates to good music, you’ll be able to find out on January 13, either by purchasing the album they’ve recorded, Don’t Explain (Palmetto), or by spending that evening at the Jazz Standard in New York City. In fact, Mehldau and Frahm will play three nights together at the club, from January 13-15. Ticket info for the shows isn’t listed on the Jazz Standard’s Web site, but you can give them a call at (212) 576-2232 and see if they’ll spill the beans on pricing and show times.

Originally Published