The New York Times: A Duo Face Off While Staying on the Same Page


Mehliana Promotes ‘Taming of the Dragon,’ Its Debut Album

Mehliana Brad Mehldau, left, and Mark Guiliana make up this duo, performing at the Highline Ballroom. Ruby Washington/The New York Times

Mehliana Brad Mehldau, left, and Mark Guiliana make up this duo, performing at the Highline Ballroom. Ruby Washington/The New York Times

Brad Mehldau, the casually graceful post-bop pianist, and Mark Guiliana, the gracefully casual deep-groove drummer, faced each other across the stage at the Highline Ballroom on Wednesday night, as if to give shape to the idea of back-and-forth exchange. Things didn’t shake out that neatly or equitably. But the duo, which goes by Mehliana, delivered a credible mash-up of sensibilities in the show, an experiment in the emerging field of beat science and a treatise on the ageless art of tension and release.

The show had been timed to coincide with the release of Mehliana’s debut, “Taming the Dragon” (Nonesuch), but a production issue pushed the album’s arrival back to Feb. 25. For what it’s worth, the agreeably slick production values on the studio recording — including a couple of spoken-word overlays by Mr. Mehldau involving dream logic and the dark insights of the subconscious — were barely a factor in the show, which felt more rugged and spontaneous, more like a developing story.

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