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FT: "Compositional Rigour"

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Monday May 21, 2018

From Financial Times

Brad Mehldau Trio: Seymour Reads the Constitution! — ‘compositional rigour’
By: Mike Hobart

[…] But as good as Ballard and Grenadier are, roles are clearly defined, and there’s no mistaking that Mehldau’s piano is the lead voice. Particularly when, as on this album, the American displays the iron logic that made his recent solo album After Bach such a standout.

Mehldau’s compositional rigour is clear from the two originals that open this set. “Spiral” supports a repeated motif with downward-moving harmonies and builds into a drum-feature peak; the title track lives up to its name by unfolding thoughtfully over the gentle slopes of a waltz. Later in the album, Mehldau re-harmonises and toys with the baroque opening line of “Ten Tune” while Ballard is at full stretch; the piece plays out with the pianist unaccompanied, spinning variations with such purpose that they appear pre-composed.

The album closes with the lyrical modernism of Sam Rivers’s “Beatrice”, its melody clearly stated so as to linger in the mind.

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