Songs: Art of the Trio (Volume 3)

Brad Mehldau Trio

Songs, recorded in 1998, captured a wider audience for Mehldau’s trio. “A lot of people have told me that ‘Songs’ is their favorite record of mine,” Mehldau says. “I was thinking a lot at that time about what ‘song’ means to me. It implies a few things - simplicity of melody, an economy of material and a short form, but also a strong emotional effect on the listener that hopefully lingers and swells in your consciousness after you’ve heard it. A song is short and ends quickly, but it should also give you a feeling of endlessness, of something much bigger than its duration. You should sense that you’re scratching the surface of something eternal.”

Mehldau’s writing made an expressive leap on this record, with originals like ‘Song-Song,’ ‘Unrequited,’ and ‘Sehnsucht,’ and he notes, “I started to achieve something more simple and direct in my own tunes.” Two covers heard in their first versions here went on to become staples in the trio’s performances: Nick Drake’s ‘River Man’ and Radiohead’s ‘Exit Music (For a Film).’ On the ballad, ‘For All We Know,’ you can start to hear an elegiac tone. The sentiment of elegy that begins on this record sweeps over much of Mehldau’s subsequent recorded music, and he would explore that idea in depth on his next record, ‘Elegiac Cycle’.


Songs: Art of the Trio (Volume 3)

01. Song-Song
02. Unrequited
03. Bewitched Bothered & Bewildered
04. Exit Music (For A Film)
05. At A Loss
06. Convalescent
07. For All We Know
08. River Man
09. Yonug At Heart
10. Sehnsucht


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Brad Mehldau (piano)
Larry Grenadier (bass)
Jorge Rossy (drums)

Matt Pierson