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