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Mehliana bring on the baroque-electronica

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Tuesday March 12, 2013

from jazzwisemagazine.com

Jazz breaking news: Mehliana bring on the baroque-electronica
By:Mike Flyn

Last December sample-busting cult producer DJ Shadow was told to curtail his latest, boundary pushing set at the Mansion Nightclub, Miami, for being “too future.” It was perhaps indicative of what happens when artists try to break out of their perceived stylistic box, only to be met with bemused looks and, worse still, rejection by their fanbase. Thankfully revered pianist Brad Mehldau’s new electronic jazz duo project with rising star drummer Mark Guiliana – dubbed Mehliana – only caused one minor negative reaction at last night’s London debut at Hoxton’s ultra-cool Village Underground. One song into the set a very disgruntled woman pushed her way through the crowd, face like thunder; she couldn’t leave the venue fast enough. Perhaps what had caused such consternation was the stripped back keyboards and drums pairing – a challenging set up for both musicians and audience alike – with Mehldau working overtime between three keyboards and Guiliana deep in concentration as his precision beat-making formed the backbone of this ever-morphing set.

While the pianist has readily acknowledged influences outside jazz, in particular Radiohead, among his repertoire of choice pop, folk and rock covers, his work on Fender Rhodes, or anything solely electronic, has never been as out front as it was here. The revelatory swathes of sounds phased from eerie baroque harpsichord-like ripples, to fully blown horror movie scores, with Vangelis, Jeff Wayne, Messiaen and Ennio Morricone all jostling for attention. Joe Zawinul and Chick Corea were in there somewhere too.

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