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Brad Mehldau And Chris Thile Prove Smart Music Can Also Be A Lot Of Fun

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Monday September 18, 2017

From Forbes

Brad Mehldau And Chris Thile Prove Smart Music Can Also Be A Lot Of Fun
By: Steve Baltin

Grammy-winning mandolinist/instrumentalist Chris Thile and Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Brad Mehldau are no strangers to many admirers of virtuoso musicianship. However, when I went into their joint performance Friday night (September 15) at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in Downtown L.A. it was largely as a newbie to both of them.

In this day and age where information is so readily accessible of course it’d be remarkably easy to check out both artists on You Tube or Spotify. I prefer to go into shows though and be surprised. For me, as a music fan, I love the sense of discovery that comes from walking into to see an artist, knowing little and being converted into a fan.

That was definitely the case seeing these two masters of their craft join forces for a stunning 90-minute set that also served as the launch of CAP at UCLA (Center for the Art of Performance) series at the Theatre At The Ace Hotel.

Opening with “Shade Tree,” the most rocking mandolin tune I have ever seen, from their debut collaborative album, Mehldau and Thiel worked through both originals and a diverse selection of collections, many of which were inspired by the pair’s Los Angeles roots. For instance, Thile was a regular at popular L.A. spot Largo, a regular hang for super producer Jon Brion and Fiona Apple. So Thile and Mehldau delivered a superb extended rendition of Apple’s “Fast As You Can.”

They also drew on the L.A. music scene for an instrumental interpretation of Elliott Smith’s “Independence Day” and an absolutely breathtaking version of Joni Mitchell’s “Marcie,” one that as Thile almost whispered the final lyrics, left the whole building in a hushed reverence.

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