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Brad Mehldau Trio: Day Is Done

Jeff Ballard, Brad Medhldau and Larry Grenadier

Brad Mehldau’s first trio recording for Nonesuch is also his first without Jorge Rossy at the drums. Jeff Ballard, Rossy’s replacement, is far from a stranger to Mehldau and bassist Larry Grenadier, and it isn’t surprising that a drummer this brilliant should take to the trio like a fish to water. But that’s not to say that Day Is Done lacks surprises.

The pianist gives us two new originals: “Artis,” an uptempo swinger, and “Turtle Town,” a lyrical bolero. But Mehldau continues to emphasize his personal take on the modern songbook, with new interpretations of his reigning favorites: Radiohead, Lennon and McCartney, Nick Drake and Paul Simon. With “Granada” he champions the writing of one of his most gifted peers, saxophonist Chris Cheek. With a short but scintillating “Alfie” he reasserts himself as an eloquent, unfussy ballad player. And with “No Moon at All,” a lesser-known standard, he goes out swinging. Note: If you plan to buy the album, go digital. The iTunes version includes two must-hear bonus tracks: “Viver de Amor,” a Toninho Horta gem, and “You Do Something to Me,” played fast, with a devious modulation (and, far more devious, a dropped measure) in the last eight bars of the form.

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Originally Published

David R. Adler

David R. Adler writes about jazz and assorted topics. His work has appeared in JazzTimes, NPR Music, WBGO.org, The Philadelphia InquirerThe Village Voice, DownBeat, Time Out New York, and many other publications. From 2010-2017 he taught jazz history at the Aaron Copland School of Music (Queens College-CUNY). In summer 2017, after 30 years in New York (apart from two in Philadelphia), David relocated with his family to Athens, Georgia. There he continues to write about music and perform solo as a guitarist/vocalist.