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Mehldau's solo eight-LP release "formidable"

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Thursday October 15, 2015

From The Guardian

Brad Mehldau: 10 Years Solo Live review – virtuosity and ingenuity in five hours of solo piano

In the late 1990s, Brad Mehldau began turning his refined attention to the exacting art Keith Jarrett had dominated for so long: unaccompanied acoustic-piano improvisation. This set – released now as an eight-LP vinyl set, and on CD next month – features five hours of live solo Mehldau, a torrent of remodelled Beatles songs, Thelonious Monk tunes, jazz standards and Brahms intermezzos, organised here according to themes of mood, motive and musical structure. Despite this guiding hand through the enchanted forest of his virtuosity and lyrical ingenuity, it’s more likely that listeners will dip in and out of this slew of orchestrally rolling chordwork, tireless trills and corkscrewing contrapuntal playing. There are plenty of gems here: And I Love Her as a blend of dark harmonies and seductive slow rock; Smells Like Teen Spirit as a jangling trance; two drone-like meditations on Radiohead’s Knives Out; stalking inquisitiveness and a wacky dance on Monk’s Think of One, and much more. It’s a formidable collector’s piece for Mehldau fans.