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LIVE REVIEW: Brad Mehldau Trio - Broad Stage - 5/21/12

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Wednesday May 23, 2012

from http://blogs.laweekly.com

Brad Mehldau Trio – Broad Stage – 5/21/12
By:Sean J. O’Connell

Brad Mehldau’s most recent album, Ode, is a return to the trio format that helped make him one of the most prominent jazz pianists of the last twenty years. His delicate touch, contemporary repertoire and impeccable cohorts helped to usher in what he defined over a series of albums as the “art of the trio.” Last night at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, Mehldau performed with longtime bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, proving that the “art” is still in his fingertips.

After a quiet delay (who starts at 7:30 on a Monday anyway?) the trio opened with late-‘90s Paul McCartney song, “Great Day.” After a short piano intro, Grenadier joined in on the descending melody. He took a throbbing solo on his upright behemoth before making way for Mehldau’s soulful solo, his right hand poised over the keyboard at all times, contemplating his next move like a chess player.

In keeping with the theme of unparalleled classic rock songsmiths, the trio followed with Brian Wilson’s “Friends.” Ballard drove the group with his waltzing brushes, slowly transitioning to sticks one hand at a time. He offered up a calculated solo on his kit, dropping small bass bombs alongside Grenadier, while building to a thunderous riot.

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