Saxophonist Joshua Redman and pianist Brad Mehldau were among the performers in this year's edition of NPR Music's Toast of the Nation, an annual New Year's Eve show of six hour-long jazz performances to help ring in the New Year in style. Redman and Mehldau's set captures their 2016 duo performance at Blue Note Tokyo, including Brad Mehldau's "Jedediah," the Monk-inspired piece "Let's Call This," the standard "My Ideal," and Redman's The Oneness of Two (In Three)," and a bit of Charlie Parker's "Ornithology." You can hear it below.
"Two of my favorite albums that came out [in 2018] were from my old friends Brad Mehldau and Joshua Redman, both of whom recently picked up Grammy nominations," says host Christian McBride. "These guys are great friends and have been playing together since the early '90s. A few years back, they decided to join forces once more to record a live album called Nearness. You can hear how well they connect musically."
Nearness, Redman and Mehldau's first duo album together, was recorded live on tour in Europe in 2011 and features all different tracks than the set heard below. "The pair are so well matched," says BBC Music Magazine in a five-star album review. "Both are extraordinary, scintillating improvisers bursting with energy, yet they have great ears for one another." Mojo says: "They create a special telepathic musical synergy in each other’s company."
To pick up a copy of Nearness, or the 2018 Grammy-nominated Redman and Mehldau albums to which McBride refers, visit the Nonesuch Store now.