Brad Mehldau at The National Concert Hall, Dublin
By: Ian Patterson

The National Concert Hall of Dublin is a long way from the bars and clubs of Greenwich Village, New York, where pianist Brad Mehldau cut his teeth in the early 1990s. Originally built for the Dublin International Exhibition of 1865 this impressive edifice is the home of classical music in Ireland. The venue says much, not only about Mehldau’s status, but about jazz’s credentials as an art form—at the very top end of the scale at least.

The concert had all the trappings of a classical recital too, from the magnificent Steinway piano—almost dwarfed by the towering organ that dominates the auditorium—to the well-heeled audience. Mehldau's mute arrival and departure, his playing without introducing the songs and his courtly bows to the audience belonged more to the classical world than jazz. In fact, Mehldau's casual attire seemed slightly incongruous in an atmosphere where the coughers felt like rude intruders.

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