Brad Mehldau "Largo"

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inverseroom
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Brad Mehldau "Largo"

Post by inverseroom » Thu Jan 13, 2005 4:05 pm

I did a search and cannot believe that I haven't already posted about this incredibly great record. Mehldau is a very prolific jazz pianist best known for his trio work and Beatles & Radiohead covers, but this 2002 album has got to be the best thing he's done, and is the jazz record I've listened to the most in the past two years.

It is produced and mixed by Jon Brion (we can assume these guys crossed paths at the club of the same name!) and engineered by Thomas Biller, and contains not only some of the best melodic keyboard work I've heard in ages, but also some of the best-sounding drums and most inventive percussion as well. The drummers are Jorge Rossy, Jim Keltner, and Matt Chamberlain, and there are always some weird kind of bells or jingling crap or something going on here and there; there are heavily effected guitars, and a distorted (and Leslied, and Whammied) piano, and prepared pianos. But there are also great horn arrangements and solid bass.

Ultimately though what comes through is the sound of a great band backing a great musician, with great people at the board. The arrangements and treatments support the performances rather than overwhelming them, and sound as organic and appropriate as everything else in the mix. The songs are fantastic, and Mehldau's cover of "Paranoid Android" has got to be one of the best covers of anything I've ever heard. Also "You're Vibing Me" has got what must be the most heavily compressed cymbals in the history of recorded jazz. Totally radical but totally right.

Also, it's all live in the studio, no overdubs. :D

Everybody go get a copy!

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Re: Brad Mehldau "Largo"

Post by Zeppelin4Life » Thu Jan 13, 2005 7:14 pm

yeah I really likes his phrasing on that album..
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Re: Brad Mehldau "Largo"

Post by cgarges » Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:39 pm

This album is so incredible it's stupid. It's almost hard to believe this occured in the same room at the same time.

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Re: Brad Mehldau "Largo"

Post by Shawn Simmons » Thu Jan 13, 2005 10:26 pm

I love this record. It's been in my rotation for about a year now. It always amazes me that it was recorded live on the floor with no overdubs. They must've spent some serious time tinkering with the piano and drums cause those are some crazy beautiful sounds. Top notch work all around.

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Re: Brad Mehldau "Largo"

Post by dumbangel » Thu Jan 13, 2005 11:10 pm

My favourite tracks are the first one and that tasteful cover of Dear Prudence.

The sound textures on this album are so enjoyable to listen. Drums sound so smooth, so lush. I don't know how they did that.

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Re: Brad Mehldau "Largo"

Post by JASIII » Fri Jan 14, 2005 8:20 am

Some friends of mine saw him last year on a double bill w/ John Scofield in Chicago. They said Mehldau played an insane version on "She's Leaving Home". A Brad Mehldau/Bill Frizzell collaboration would be my wet dream......
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Re: Brad Mehldau "Largo"

Post by Rigsby » Fri Jan 14, 2005 8:27 am

Looks like one to check out, though any slight connection to John Scofield makes me nervous, Mehldau's not in that vein is he?
The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away.

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Re: Brad Mehldau "Largo"

Post by inverseroom » Fri Jan 14, 2005 8:57 am

The obvious comparison is Bill Evans, but sometimes his melodic choices, and the way he spaces out notes, remind me of Thelonious Monk.

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Re: Brad Mehldau "Largo"

Post by Rigsby » Fri Jan 14, 2005 8:59 am

inverseroom wrote:The obvious comparison is Bill Evans, but sometimes his melodic choices, and the way he spaces out notes, remind me of Thelonious Monk.
Ah, now that sounds more like it. I'll call my dad, see if he already has a copy and if not go down to the record store on monday.
The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away.

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Re: Brad Mehldau "Largo"

Post by coniferouspine » Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:08 am

The obvious comparison is Bill Evans, but sometimes his melodic choices, and the way he spaces out notes, remind me of Thelonious Monk.
I've also said in the past that he's kind of like a Gen-X Bill Guaraldi.
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Re: Brad Mehldau "Largo"

Post by Stephen B. » Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:12 am

Man, I also love this album. Still trying to wrap my head around the fact that this is all live. wow. Did you ever notice on "You're Vibing Me" when he goes to the piano solo, it sounds like they just keep using the vibe mics. Then when the head returns (on piano this time) the piano mics are brought up. Amazing effect.

One thing that has always bothered me is the cut between the middle section of Paranoid Android and the return of the rockin' part. It's so obvious that it is a cut, you have to just believe they did it on purpose.

"I Do" is breathtaking.

This album and the Fiona Apple stuff makes Jon Brion one of my favorite producers. I also love his score for Magnolia. I saw he was at TapeOp Con last year. You think he'll be there again?
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Re: Brad Mehldau "Largo"

Post by cgarges » Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:17 am

Rigsby wrote:Looks like one to check out, though any slight connection to John Scofield makes me nervous, Mehldau's not in that vein is he?
Why? What "vein" are you talking about? Great living jazz innovators?

Chris

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Re: Brad Mehldau "Largo"

Post by Devlars » Fri Jan 14, 2005 10:35 am

I've known of Brad Meldhau for ages but for some reason never went and baought any of his stuff. Along the way there werw always little reminders, seeing the CDs hearing a song on the radio etc. but now...NOW I'm going to buy his stuff, it's too much to put off, especially with all "holy crap!" moments you are all referring to.
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Re: Brad Mehldau "Largo"

Post by Rigsby » Fri Jan 14, 2005 2:20 pm

cgarges wrote:
Rigsby wrote:Looks like one to check out, though any slight connection to John Scofield makes me nervous, Mehldau's not in that vein is he?
Why? What "vein" are you talking about? Great living jazz innovators?

Chris
Something about Scofield's tone especially gives me an unpleasant feeling and his choice of notes usually leaves me cold. I don't know, i've not heard much, but some of my friends are pretty into him and everything i've heard him on has been tarnished by his presence due to both aspects. Taste issue i guess, i mean, i know a lot of people like and respect him, just not me. I really have an adverse reaction to the guy to be honest.
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Re: Brad Mehldau "Largo"

Post by JASIII » Fri Jan 14, 2005 2:33 pm

It's all the chorus he uses on his guitar. Check out "AuGo Go" for less of that sound, and Medeski Martin and Wood are the backing band. Great stuff.
"If you will starve unless you become a rock star, then you have bigger problems than whether or not you are a rock star. " - Steve Albini

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