Nonesuch Records releases Brad Mehldau's 10 Years Solo Live eight-LP vinyl box set October 16, 2015, and this four-CD and digital version of the same on November 13. The set is culled from 19 live recordings made over a decade of the pianist's European solo concerts and is divided into four thematic subsets: Dark/Light, The Concert, Intermezzo/Rückblick, and E Minor/E Major. 10 Years Solo Live will be released digitally and on CD the following month.
Nearness finds acclaimed jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman and pianist Brad Mehldau teaming up for a set of loose yet heartfelt duo performances. Collaborators since they first began playing together in Redman's quartet in the early '90s, Mehldau and Redman have forged their own distinct solo careers. While they have continued to work together in various settings, the duo put a spotlight on their creative friendship with their 2011 tour. Nearness features live performances captured during the European leg of that tour, including tapings in Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, and Norway.
Brad Mehldau's first solo piano album is not only his best record to date, it is one of the most searching, most inventive solo piano albums since Keith Jarrett's best solo concerts of the 1970s, and it throws virtually the whole Maybeck series into a cocked hat, too. For one thing, it is a truly unified cycle of mostly improvised reminiscences, starting from a Chopin prelude-like base on "Bard," peaking dynamically with "Trailer Park Ghost," and cycling right back to the "Bard" theme seamlessly, inevitably, at the close.
Brad Mehldau's latest solo recording, the two-CD/single-DVD Live in Marciac begins with two tracks that contrast his astonishing technical facility and his considerable inventive gift for empathic interpretation. The opening "Storm" is an original four-minute exercise in furious counterpoint, expansive layered harmony, and swinging ostinato; it's followed by a complex yet utterly inventive lyrical reading of Cole Porter's "It's All Right with Me" that not only underscores the lyric in its full harmonic voice, but expands upon it with low- and middle-register arpegiattic studies from Bach and Brahms without losing site of the tune. These are but two of the many surprises on this recorded in 2006.
In listening to the five years of the Brad Mehldau Trio represented in this box set, one hears the unfolding of a new and significant part of modern jazz history, as the end of the 1990s opened the door on the explosive creative renaissance of the music in the 21st century. Nonesuch has compiled the five releases in the Art of the Trio series, as well as an additional disc of unreleased recordings from the same period (1997-2001), offering a serious reconsideration of what has already been accepted as a "next step" for the jazz piano trio's history.