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Brad Mehldau Turns Ivory Into Gold

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Monday May 14, 2012

from sfexaminer.com

Brad Mehldau turns ivory into gold
By:Jason Victor Serinus

Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, 41, is held in such high esteem that when his forthcoming gig was announced at a recent SFJazz concert, a sizeable number of audience members began to applaud.

Known for his improvisatory genius — which informs not only original compositions, but also renditions of jazz standards and arrangements of rock hits by the likes of the Beatles, Radiohead and Paul Simon — Mehldau has just released “Ode,” his first CD with his trio in four years.

“‘Ode’ is a collection of originals that I wrote specifically for my trio with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard,” Mehldau says. “I feel that what they bring to the music in the performance here is inseparable from the tunes themselves.”

Most of the 11 songs on “Ode,” which will figure heavily in the concert, are tributes to other individuals, real or imagined. As Mehldau was composing the pieces, he began to think of them as odes, or poems without words, that might be sung.

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