Brad Mehldau Trio
Anything Goes was recorded on a two day session in September of 2002. Two records came out of the date, one of all originals, the other of standards and covers. ‘Anything Goes’ is the latter. Mehldau returned to the studio with his longstanding trio with Larry Grenadier on bass and Jorge Rossy on drums. The trio teams up with two other old colleagues as well here: Matt Pierson, who initially signed Mehldau to Warner Brothers and produced several of the earlier trio records, and James Farber, the renowned recording engineer who also recorded several of the trio records.
Mehldau says, “On this one I was thinking a little about what we got to on ‘Songs’ as a starting point: Focusing more on a beautiful sonic experience, honing in on a singular interpretation of the material, trying to nail the sentiment of the songs in my view, and what the other guys bring to them. The songs don’t stretch out as much as you’ll find on the live records; the emotion is more compressed and hopefully more direct. Another thing about this record that I like is that it has a certain relaxed quality in the trio’s ensemble playing rhythmically that we hadn’t achieved before. I’m really proud of this one.”
The title of the record Anything Goes comes from the Cole Porter tune, heard here in a characteristic lopey 5/4 feel. It’s also an appropriate sentiment for the wide range of tunes in this collection. There’s a rousing version of the more obscure ‘Skippy’ from Thelonious Monk. Three ballads are spread throughout the record, heard in condensed, heartfelt interpretations, like the wistful take on Lerner and Lowe’s classic from ‘My Fair Lady’, ‘I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face’. The trio’s version of Paul Simon’s ‘Still Crazy After All These Years’ has all the nostalgia and sweetness the lyric conveys, but Mehldau discovers a layer of trouble and darkness beneath the song in his short but intense so. Radiohead’s ‘Everything in It’s Right Place’ finds the trio in its meditative mode. Here, Grenadier establishes a hypnotic low end to the sonic texture that sets the course for the entire tune, never wavering.
Brad Mehldau, piano
Larry Grenadier, bass
Jorge Rossy, drums
Produced by Brad Mehldau and Matt Pierson
Recorded and mixed by James Farber
Recorded at Avatar Recording Studios, New York City, October 8 and 9, 2002
Mixed at Sear Sound, New York City
Assistant Recording Engineers: Aya Takemura & Steve Mazur
Production Coordinator: Dana Watson
Mastered by Greg Calibi at Sterling Sound, NYC
Art Direction and Design: Lawrence Azerrad Design
Photography: Warren Darius Aftahi