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NPR First Listen: 'Finding Gabriel'

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Thursday May 09, 2019

From NPR

First Listen: Brad Mehldau, ‘Finding Gabriel’
By: Nate Chinen

The jazz pianist Brad Mehldau has always been concerned with balancing a handful of musical priorities: dynamic fluctuation, tension and release, the play between a crisply stated idea and one that’s projected or implied. All of these are factors on Finding Gabriel, Mehldau’s ambitious new album. What helps nudge it into strange new territory is a fixation on voice and breath.

This might not seem like the key detail on a swing-for-the-fences opus that references Old Testament prophets and other Biblical arcana; collides retro-futurist synthesizers with horns and strings; and interpolates an all-too-familiar slogan from a political rally. We’ll get to all of that. But when you spend some time with Finding Gabriel, you begin to understand how much faith Mehldau has placed here in human vocalization, as a call to communion in troubled times.

Click here to listen to the album and to read more