Your Mother Should Know: Brad Mehldau Plays The Beatles

Your Mother Should Know: Brad Mehldau Plays The Beatles

Pianist Brad Mehldau blew up in the mid-’90s playing intense renditions of Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and the like, but he’s also famously covered rock and pop fare including Radiohead, Alice in Chains, Neil Young, Rush, and indeed The Beatles. But here is Mehldau going all in, at peak expressive form and technical command, alone with a phenomenal instrument in a superb-sounding hall (Philharmonie de Paris), offering an emotionally invested all-Beatles program (save for one David Bowie anthem at the end). The song order flows beautifully. Mehldau opens up the forms, cannily orchestrates the melodies, departs in fascinating ways from the harmonies, in the end keeping it all about the song. The emphasis is generally later Beatles (“I Am the Walrus,” “She Said, She Said,” and “Golden Slumbers” are inspired picks), but Mehldau’s boogie-woogie treatment of “I Saw Her Standing There” takes it back—it’s him convincingly flexing pre-bebop stylistic muscles while finding openings for his own creative language to come through.

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