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Brad Mehldau with Larry Grenadier, Jorge Rossy: Places

Brad Mehldau’s debt to Keith Jarrett has never been so plain as it is on Places. This collection of solo and trio pieces, named for the locales in which they were composed, has much the same mix of longing and belonging as Jarrett’s mid-’70s recordings. Jarrett’s shadow looms over Mehldau’s use of counterpoint and variation, his compacted, occasionally pop-tinged thematic materials and the emotional ambivalence reflected in Mehldau’s constant sway between the rhapsodic and the broodingly introspective.

In addition to being a technically dazzling pianist, Mehldau has an arch sense of nuance; by changing the touch of a single note or introducing a single beat’s rest in a long serpentine line, Mehldau can turn a smile or a frown upside down.

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