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Brad Mehldau -- Day is Done

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by Tbeers, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    If there is already a thread about this, then I apologize for repetition.

    This CD is absolutely ridiculous. Jeff Ballard is a sick drummer, Mehldau goes without saying, and Larry Grenadier I find to be very impressive. Everything feels so open... I find myself wanting to compare Mehldau's trio to what Bill Evans did, but it's so different and modern also. Some elements of their sound also remind me of the Dave Holland album "Extended Play."

    I cannot stop listening to Mehldau's conception of "Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover." The trio achieves an unbelievably smooth 7/4 feel. Grenadier and especially Ballard are rock solid but very loose as well (don't mean to contradict).

    A CD well worth grabbing.
  2. greg garrison

    greg garrison

    Apr 12, 2005
    the cd is amazing- I saw the trio at the Village Vanguard recently- Grenadier is an incredible player- nice, dark live tone, great intonation, inspiring lines and solo ideas... they played "50 Ways", and it was pretty transcendental.
    I think Brad went off on the whole Bill Evans comparison thing in the liner notes for one of the "Live at the V.V." cd's, can't remember off the top of my head which one, I'll have to go read it again.
  3. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    This cd kills me too. I find it very interesting how much that group changed with a different drummer.
  4. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    This topic needs more discussion. I picked this up yesterday, and it is amazing. I never heard the group before, only saw Mehldau playing solo once, so this is really just...amazing.

    Grenadier is a great player. The title track features some really mindblowing playing from him, IMO. I was immensely impressed by the depth at which these guys are playing, and their rhythmic smoothness. The group sounds great together, and the way the three work together with each other is nothing short of telepathic. I'm also a fan of how much playing they each get, and how far Grenadier is going. I can't even fathom playing a tune like 50 Ways yet.

    Also, dig the double-stops he's playing. Really tight stuff!
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    You should also check out Larry and Jeff with Mark Turner in the collaborative group FLY.
  6. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    This is the disc that got me back into Brad Mehldau, to whom I used to listen a lot before I got burnt out a bit. I got a copy for free somehow and it's just fabulous; I second the astonishment over how much the change from Jorge Rossy to Jeff Ballard affected (I won't say improved, but that's my impression) the sound of the group.

    I've always wanted to hear him do a solo piano version of "Martha, My Dear," and here it is!
  7. Nadav


    Nov 13, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I don't think I've ever listened to this album in its entirety. (Un)fortunately I have a twelve hour flight this Friday to fix this. I loved his first Vanguard recording with Jorge.
  8. Its Art Of The Trio 4 at the V.V. that he talks about the bill evans thing. I find it hard to believe he only listened to bill for a few months of his life though. I dont know how I could live without my Bill Evans Trio CDs.
  9. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    Meldau is a great musician. I just can't stomach his:
    1. Contrived image
    2. Glorifacation of heroin addiction
    3. Covers of indie rock songs. I boycott him, the Bad Plus and the Thing on that strength alone.
    He is like Jarrett without the Whinning OR the depth.
    I'll take Paul Bley, Marc Copeland or Jarrett or any number of great pianists any day.
    There. I said it.
  10. jazzbass72


    Jun 26, 2003
    New York, NY
    Well, at least he got over his addiction, you gotta give him credit for that. And the fact that he's sold more records than Paul Bley, Marc Copeland and probably Keith Jarrett combined, means that his playing must speak to a lot of people. I think that's a nice thing to achieve for any musician, isn't it?

    There. I said it.

  11. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    - So we should all listen to Mike Jackson and Britney Spears then? Not that selling records is bad, but sales that high point more toward speaking to a lower common denominator than being a great artist.
    they also point to milking an image (heroin/indie rock songs being part of it). Even his "addiction" comes off as being calculated.

    I doubt the bulk of his cd buyers could care less about the finer points of his or Grenadier's playing (both certainly great players) - they bought the cds because they thought it was cute that he played Radiohead and Bjork songs and it was something to play in the background at their cocktail parties.
    Good for him that he is making money but I personally am not going to fall for so many obvious, crass marketing schemes.
  12. jazzbass72


    Jun 26, 2003
    New York, NY
    Nobody is asking you to.
  13. Jeff Guevin

    Jeff Guevin I know you love me like cooked food.

    Nov 6, 2005
    Binghamton, NY
    Did the guy really glorify his addiction in some way? The addiction is well known, but I guess I've never heard that it was some badge of honor for him.

    I like the Radiohead, personally--I think he makes the strongest case I've heard for interpreting today's popular music. The Bad Plus's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", on the other hand, is a big unpleasant mess.
  14. Jeff Guevin

    Jeff Guevin I know you love me like cooked food.

    Nov 6, 2005
    Binghamton, NY
    Oh come on, man. The guy doesn't have to be your favorite, but "lowest common denominator"? Mehldau can play, has a sound, and if contrived album art and "image" rubs you the wrong way, I urge you not go back and look at Miles's crass marketing.
  15. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I really like his first 5 or 6 records a whole lot, I missed a couple of recent ones, but checked out Day is Done again as a result of this thread.

    I think that his presentation of popular songs in a jazz concept is refreshing and a lot better for the art than many other tricks to make the music "accessible."

    I think we loose sight of pre Miles history, that before Standards were Standards, they were popular songs. Some of the songs he has recorded, like the beatles tunes and now Paul Simon's tunes and others are very tastefully done. Highlights for me are the album with "Blackbird" and listening to the other standards of his groups over time.

    The Bill Evans trio comparison is pretty misguided, as most of what I hear from Mehldau is pretty piano-centric. I am glad he distances himself from that. I also don't get some stuff he does that is more kind of extended ostinatos and jams, but the crossover phish and MMW fans get it and it brings those listeners in, so I can hang with that.

    Seeing him with Grenadier at some point is one of my top priorities.
  16. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    - I really only like Miles when Chambers is in the band as well as that Wayne Shorter Band with Ron Carter. There is some speculation that Mingus' "The Clown" was about Miles.
    Anyway, I am an Ex-punk musician who plays free jazz. As Watt would say Meldau is WAY too 'mersh for me so is MMW.
    Of the pianists playing as well as Meldau he is the biggest compromiser. Nobody is going to say he can't play.
    I feel like his decisons are monetary and not artistic - if I am going to hold myself to a purely artistic standard than I am not going to blow the money I make doing that on someone who doesn't.
    My ideal pianists would be Fred Van Hove and Cecil Taylor both are great artists and neither man is poor. I am not pushing a starving artist agenda.

    On thursday I saw Sonny Fortune And Rashid Ali play the SH** out of "I love you" for 50 minutes and then they Launched into "IN a Sentamental Mood" so Beautiful and deep. I was reminded that both jazz and standards don't have to be lame.
  17. Jeff Guevin

    Jeff Guevin I know you love me like cooked food.

    Nov 6, 2005
    Binghamton, NY
    Yeah, I agree, Sonny Fortune's solos tend run a little long. :smug:

    Well, from what you've said, you and I obviously have some different tastes, that's cool. But I just want to point out that you haven't criticized Mehldau on his art, just on what you take his motivations to be. I'd suggest maybe you don't really know what's going on in his decision-making, and whether or not you do, you'll benefit from just forgetting who the guy is and listen to his playing. And if you don't like it, that's totally legitimate.

    I actually first listened to him on Art of the Trio vol. 3, and I admit it was because of the Radiohead song listed--when I listen to anything non-jazz, Radiohead is high on the list (yeah, I know, they're sell-outs too). But the first song I heard was "Song-song", and I was hooked long before I got to any familiar tunes.

    Oh, and Cecil Taylor was the only jazz show I've ever walked out on. To me that's the epitomy of contrivance. Maybe someday I'll take another listen.
  18. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I agree, and I like this stuff as well. I think they play it really well. I saw the trio play in Indy, and they had wonderful energy...didn't seem fake or contrived at all. I guess it's all a matter of taste. I also love the version of "Blame it on My Youth" from Vol. 1 of the same series.

    Mehldau and Jarrett are totally different. Jarrett's vibe is continuous energy, and Mehldau's seem to be more motive oriented and building toward a goal, more compositional in a way. I like them both a lot, just depends on what mood I'm in. Lately I like what Fred Hersch and Kenny Werner are doing a little better than either. I saw Kenny play twice during the camps, and he sounded really fresh, playing with a TON of joy.

    I'll be looking forward to hearing "Day is Done".
  19. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    - Cecil is for sure not for everyone, but I would not go so far to call him contrived. He is someone who has really stuck to his ideals and it has paid off.

    - Those two I can really get behind. There is a weird Archie Shepp record with Werner, Archie is past his prime at that point but Kenny Werner is just burning.
    I saw Hersch's trio with Drew Gress and they were really happening.
  20. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    How about those Lee Konitz albms with Charlie Haden and Brad Mehldau? That music comes from a very free place in my opinion.