WBGO Premiered Brad’s “O Ephraim” from his upcoming Finding Gabriel album, due May 17 on Nonesuch Records. Following is an excerpt from the article:
The often-senseless chaos of our present age has inspired every form of new artistic expression, from television dramas to realist novels. For pianist and composer Brad Mehldau, it yielded a striking and unorthodox album, Finding Gabriel, which Nonesuch will release on May 17.
The album comes out of a few recent preoccupations, including the Biblical Old Testament, and in particular the prophetic works of Daniel and Hosea. “The Bible felt like a corollary and perhaps a guide to the present day — one long nightmare or a signpost leading to potential gnosis, depending on how you read it,” Mehldau reflects in an album statement.
“O Ephraim,” which has its premiere here, borrows its title from Hosea 6:4, a passage of admonition. (“O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? For your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.”)
Another contributing factor on Finding Gabriel is the OB-6 synthesizer, which Mehldau has added to his arsenal. On “O Ephraim” he features that instrument along with Fender Rhodes and acoustic pianos, Musser Ampli-Celeste, Morfbeats gamelan strips, drums and vocals. It’s a multilayered solo performance — one of several on the album, which elsewhere features the likes of vocalist Becca Stevens, drummer Mark Guiliana and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire.
Finding Gabriel will be released on Nonesuch Records on May 17; preorder here.