Recording information: Sumida Triphony Hall, Tokyo, Japan.
Photographers: Michael Wilson ; Ye Rin Mok.
In the early 2000s, more and more jazz musicians began breaking away from the Great American Songbook. Rather than limiting themselves to the standard tunes from Tin Pan Alley and Broadway, jazz artists started to embrace pop music to a greater extent. Pianist Brad Mehldau was one of the most noted proponents of this shift.
On the 2004 solo outing, LIVE IN TOKYO, Mehldau further distances himself from the older pianistic traditions of Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, et al. This is evidenced by his choice of repertoire, which includes two songs by melancholy British folk icon Nick Drake ("Things Behind the Sun" and "River Man") and one by rock renegades Radiohead ("Paranoid Android"). Mehldau's interpretations also avoid bebop stylings and instead draw from a more eclectic blend of atonality, minimalism, and abstraction. Mehldau's version of "Paranoid Android" is a good example of this musical stew; the song is marked by haunting chordal textures and complex melodic gestures. Of course, the track list does reveal some familiar pieces by George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Thelonious Monk. However, these, too, are treated with the same kind of conceptual approach that Mehldau fearlessly applies to Drake and Radiohead.
Down Beat (p.65) - 4 stars out of 5 - "'From This Moment On' comes closest to the Gershwin concert-pop model of theme and variations, growing in complexity and scale, with intricate contrapuntal figures that both lift and challenge the theme."
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