Mehliana – Taming the Dragon Reviews


Brad's new album project with drummer Mark Guiliana, "Mehliana – Taming the Tiger" is receiving outstanding reviews from a variety of music publications. Following are excerpts and links to complete articles.


TELERAMAN (FRANCE)

Pianist Brad Mehldau takes power off with the drummer Mark Guiliana.

What is the tamed dragon here? The electricit . Brad Mehldau, the undisputed master of modern piano, as influential as was the Bill Evans, one day should pass electricity – Fender Rhodes, Moog synthesizer – it was not foreseeable. Yet listening to Taming the dragon, one is struck by a sense of obvious necessity. It seems that the duo Mehldau form with drummer Mark Guiliana plays hard, for some. The advantage of the disc is to set oneself noise. However, we recommend to listen too low. This is music that is full of vital energy: the opening, Taming the dragon piece, gives the feeling of a solar flare. Brad Mehldau is no longer anything the fertile young man emotions: it is a mature man who approaches music as a warrior, a samurai, decided to victory. Luxury continues in the same vein, with intransigence decision without pardon. Phrases keyboardist are all fireworks, looking less seduction (never a prettiness) the material ecstasy. You can not go back now, ironic title because the song starts with piano chords, get in electrical depths of what we stir bloods and moods.

Mark Guiliana, which had been relatively conventional in the trio of Avishai Cohen, strives here to give a human resonance loops of rhythm machine, with a share of madness that makes this duo a staggering originality. Indeed, since Weather Report, had not heard of electric jazz as impressive. We listen to the fourth beach, The Dreamer (which still means the melodic inspiration Brad pianist), and we know that this writing duo intrepidity a page of history. 

– Michel Contat


ALL ABOUT JAZZ

Amidst all the heat and jagged angularity, there are still moments of beauty to be found. "The Dreamer," another collaborative composition, is driven by processed acoustic piano, a searing synth line and electronically processed percussion, but at its core it's a ballad—even one that Mehldau could easily transfer to his acoustic trio to demonstrate an inner funky bad self that rarely surfaces in that context—albeit one that concludes with more spoken word that links into the story of the title track as an assessment of dreams and the dreamer who dreams them.


IRISH TIMES

Even by Mehldau’s own standards, Mehliana: Taming the Dragon is a bold move, and one that may surprise, even alarm devoted followers of his acoustic playing. Teaming up with trail-blazing percussionist Mark Guiliana, Mehldau lays his talented hands on an array of electric keyboards, including the gorgeous Fender Rhodes, a prepared upright piano, and a winking bank of old-school 1970s synths. Rarely do both hands play the same keyboard at any given moment. And rarely has new music sounded so damned exciting.


SOMETHING ELSE

There’s a sense, though, if you put those surface arguments aside, that Mehldau has finally found a space where he can challenge himself — having so firmly established his own voice, his own style, even his own tics, in straight-ahead circles. Within Guiliana’s taut, propulsive cadences, Mehliana: Taming the Dragon uncovers the humor in his playing again, the impish creativity — successfully dynamiting, along the way, what had typically become a why-so-serious demeanor. And it makes those rare moments of relative stillness, those times (as on the gorgeous “Dreamer”) when Mehldau’s more familiar piano figures move to the fore, all the more revelatory in their stark beauty.


THE GUARDIAN

Brad Mehldau, master of slow-burning, classically inflected acoustic piano improv, gets down and dirty with Mehliana, the electronics duo he shares with jazz, hip-hop and drum'n'bass percussionist Mark Guiliana.


BEYOND CHRON

Their debut effort is entitled, "Taming the Dragon", a collection of some of their best forays that will be familiar to fans of their live shows, as well as some material not heard or seen live. Mehliana's use of vintage synthesizers, and their incredible grasp of both jazz and modern electronica is a joy to witness live, (They performed at both SF Jazz and the Independant recently); happily, their new album captures those moments and more.


MUSIC OMH

Taming The Dragon is also wholly absorbing, as Mehldau’s playfulness and Guiliana’s taut, interwoven grooves create an inescapable tension. Pieces such as the delightful, slow building Hungry Ghost even seem to draw from the approaches of post rock acts such asSigur Rós or Tortoise. The use of sampled voices and stories (narrated by Mehldau himself in a delightfully dry tone) serve to enhance the mysterious atmosphere.


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