Brad Mehldau, Solo | SFJAZZ
More than any other canonical European classical composer, Bach has proven irresistible to jazz musicians. From the Modern Jazz Quartet and Jacques Loussier to Uri Caine and Joachim Kühn, Bach’s preludes, fugues, and variations have drawn a panoply of penetrating improvisers, so it’s hardly surprising to find pianist Brad Mehldau putting his own spin on the Baroque maestro. The most influential jazz pianist of the past two decades, Mehldau is the leader of a celebrated trio with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, but he’s established an equally potent practice as a solo performer (documented on last year’s four-CD Nonesuch set 10 Years Solo Live). He’s recently centered his solo recitals on Bach, crafting a diverse and breathtaking program that ranges through The Well-Tempered Clavier (including “Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp Major” and “Fugue in G Minor”) while also encompassing Bach-ian arrangements of songs by the Beatles, Neil Young, and Pete Townshend. The program’s centerpiece is his ravishing original work “Three Pieces After Bach,” a co-commission by Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, and other organizations.
Brad Mehldau piano