11 Songs, 1 Hour 15 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Jazz pianist/composer Brad Mehldau teams up with his original trio for a stunning exercise in cool, calculated synergy on 2012’s Ode, their first full studio LP since 2005’s Day Is Done. Mehldau is the melodic and spiritual center here; on tracks like “Ode” and “Kurt Vibe,” he blends a Bill Evans-style close-to-the-chest harmonic emphasis with free-floating, single-line solos that travel in and out of those harmonies with incredible nonchalance. Drummer Jeff Ballard offers rhythmically possessed playing (“M.B.”) that finds its own cadence.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Jazz pianist/composer Brad Mehldau teams up with his original trio for a stunning exercise in cool, calculated synergy on 2012’s Ode, their first full studio LP since 2005’s Day Is Done. Mehldau is the melodic and spiritual center here; on tracks like “Ode” and “Kurt Vibe,” he blends a Bill Evans-style close-to-the-chest harmonic emphasis with free-floating, single-line solos that travel in and out of those harmonies with incredible nonchalance. Drummer Jeff Ballard offers rhythmically possessed playing (“M.B.”) that finds its own cadence.

TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.4 out of 5
29 Ratings

29 Ratings

Boolez ,

Back in Form

Mehldau returns to his bread and butter, but in the studio this time after a long absience. Their last studio effort was good, but obviously was inteneded to be recorded w/ his former bandmate Rossy in mind. This set sees tunes written for all three in this recording. And comes off pretty good. Ballard comes from a funk/rock background and keeps the group from falling behind. The playing is top notch as is the producing.

The liner notes where a bit of a let down. It doesn't wax philisophical or has any poetry in it. It just explains the concers that he had for writing for the three, and explains what each pieces was written in honor for, both real and imagined persons. The one draw back is that he keeps talking about how he writes his tunes. This is Mehldau's one drawback: He still hasn't figured out how to write a good one. He keeps the melody well into the middle register and it keeps getting obscured by his hamonies and the bass line. The one's that one can here are good themes, but not really a tune. I could not remember or sing any one them well after finishing the album. Still, the trio rocks, and it's still a decent effort. They amass a wider palate of colours this time around and it's good to hear how the group has changed over the years. Minor drawbacks aside, this is still very much a must buy. -Bz

anonumus ,

Possibly his best to date?

Mehldau is back in top form with his trio, on "Ode". Mehldau creates intricate melodic forms, specifically written for the trio, (which includes, Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard on bass and drums respectively). Each of the tunes is an "Ode" for a different person that Mehldau has crossed paths with. "M.B." is an intense tribute to the late Michael Brecker, where Mehldau soars over a foundation laid by Grenadier's rock solid bass line.

Ballard and Grenadier lay the perfect canvas for Mehldau to paint his beautiful melodic sceneries. Whether it be on the 6/8 groove "26", the Kurt Rosenwinkel inspired "Kurt Vibe", or the hauntingly beautiful title track; Mehldau's new effort certainly does not lack creativity.

"Ode" is definitely Brad's most personal record to date.

forbisher ,

Behold the Beauty

Words that come to mind while listening to this excellent new recording: Breathtaking, beautiful, inspiring, masterful, satisfying. If you are a musician and are into modern Jazz, this new album will do the trick. There are few pianists, let alone musicians on this planet who have Mehldau's gift for harmonic development and lyrical, melodic beauty. Beethoven and Chopin were masters of this. Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Keith Jarrett, all are masters of this. Outside of Jazz, Thom Yourke does this, and so do Steve Wonder, Paul McCartney and others. It's all about finding a song within a song (within a song), and then making it all sing together. It's the ultimate musical gift an artist can have, and Mehldau and team, "sing" it pure and true on this beautiful record. Wow.

More By Brad Mehldau Trio

You May Also Like