"I don't make a distinction between genres – I just write and play what I'm feeling."Jazz pianists are a different breed of cat. Navigating 88 keys and up to 10 notes at a time while improvising requires advanced intuition, creativity and training. For Brad Mehldau, considered one of the best players of his generation, this dexterity is a hallmark of his illustrious and varied career. Fueled from a young age with deep curiosity and dedicated practice, he has the uncanny ability to completely separate what he’s doing with his left hand from his right hand – in essence playing or improvising two distinct melodies at the same time.
– Brad Mehldau
As leader of his own jazz trio, Grammy Award-winning solo artist, film composer, and sideman with legends like Wayne Shorter, Charles Lloyd, and John Scofield – Mehldau’s genre-bending style swings from classical to country, electronic to bluegrass, and straight-ahead jazz to straight up rock ’n’ roll. “I need to hear compressed, distorted guitars at least once a day,” he says. “It scratches an itch for me.”
To celebrate his phenomenal range and talent, we’re featuring two of his albums for the holiday season. “Finding Gabriel” is a solo effort with richly layered keyboards and strings, woodwind rushes, rock rhythms, analog synths and wordless vocals. Spiritually inspired and spot-on for our times, it won the Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album and features a number of guest players including Becca Stevens, Ambrose Akinmusire, and Kurt Elling.
And “RoundAgain” reunites Mehldau with sax legend Joshua Redman, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade as part of the original Joshua Redman Quartet. The four jazz giants haven’t recorded together in more than 25 years, but you’d never guess it from their sixth-sense interplay and tack-sharp grooves. Propelled with a fresh batch of tunes written by each of the players, this is bluesy, funky, catchy stuff – better than rum-spiked cider to warm the winter spirit.