By: Jim Caroll
The ballad of Brad Mehldau is one with many verses. Over the years, this gifted player has spent time in action on many fronts.
There was the early spell as the able foil for Joshua Redman, before he decided to recruit his own trio and knock down some doors.
Then, there have been the occasions when Mehldau has left his trio at the station and swung hard for spells with guitarist Pat Metheny, drummer Mark Guiliana or bluegrass mandolin maestro Chris Thile.
But of all Mehldau’s turns, it’s those times when he goes to work solo at the piano that are the most revealing and rewarding for many listeners.
There’s a line of dramatic, striking and elegant beauty in the bare-bones setting. The lights go down, a hush falls over the stalls and Mehldau starts to weave and coax and tease some intricate magic from the notes and the spaces between.