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Don't Explain

Brad Mehldau, Joel FrahmAudio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Price: $16.24 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 13, 2004)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Palmetto Records
  • ASIN: B00011V8E0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,246 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Don't Explain
2. Get Happy
3. Oleo
4. Round Midnight #3
5. Mother Nature's Son
6. East Of The Sun
7. Turnaround
8. Away From Home
9. Smile
10. Round Midnight #1

Editorial Reviews


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous start to the New Year January 19, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Whereas other, more high-profile sax-piano duo outings (Shorter/Hancock, Lovano/Rubalcaba) have stumbled, this one hits all the right notes.
Perhaps it's because Joel Frahm and Brad Mehldau go way back: They've known each other and played together since their days at William H. Hall High School in West Hartford, CT. Perhaps it's because they're not out to proove how hip they are. Perhaps it's because they're more concerned about making great music than securing their place in jazz Valhalla.
All I know is that this is one smokin' disc.
A program of standards plus one Frahm original, this amazing disc walks the thin line between true appreciation for The Tradition and a deep desire to create something genuinely fresh. Their two takes of perhaps the most recorded number in the history of jazz, "Round Midnight," aptly demonstrate their somewhat schizoid tendencies vis-a-vis jazz chestnuts.
The third take, first to appear on the disc, scarcely recognizable, has a restless energy and probing uncertainty entirely apposite to Monk's singular vision. Truly a new and unique reading of this tired tune, it's my favorite cut. The first take, the last selection on the record, included, one supposes, to show that these boys are not just a couple of ham-handed deconstructionists, has its own sly irreverance. In some ways, it's even more of an accomplishment, retaining the melodic and rhythmic familiarity of the original yet embuing the piece with a personal idiosycracy of astounding proportions.
An amazing thing about this disc is the "Old Soul" feeling one gets from listening to these masterful players' interpretations of standards, even as they reconfigure their essential elements. This listener simply bows in humble appreciation of Frahm and Mehldau's staggering ability to nail the sensibility of these venerable jazz tunes while still enticing from them new melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic riches.
Absolute highest recommendation.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Exhilarating Future of Jazz February 20, 2004
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Every week it seems jazz fans are confronted with stories in the popular or music press about the decline of jazz. Fewer fans. Fewer CD sales. Fewer kids listening, playing.
Here's the good news: America's best young tenor saxophonist and the finest jazz pianist of our times have collaborated on a ten-track CD duet that will restore one's faith in the future of this exceptional genre.
Brad Mehldau has joined his boyhood friend Joel Frahm to produce what is the most dynamic and original jazz recording of this new century. "Don't Explain" is a treat for the senses. It calms and agitates, provokes and reconciles, challenges and warms, eventually producing a collage of unconditional musical love.
"Don't Explain," also the CD's first cut, is, besides the Billie Holiday standard, a reference to the ability of old friends to communicate well and easily without the need for filler. A perfect metaphor for this wonderfully spare, yet paradoxically profound collection of musical poetry presented by old friends, who also happen to be two marvelously talented artists.
Reflective retellings of classics like "Round Midnight" (visited in two versions), pop standards like "Smile," and even a Beatles tune, "Mother Nature's Son," give the album a feeling of timelessness. It is pays its respect to the past while forecasting an exciting new 21st century American jazz -- crisp, graceful, heartfelt without sentimentality, and exigent but never impenetrable.
It is a CD that defines why so many of us have always returned to jazz, after regular listening ventures into the other musical genres. It is smart, moving, and elegant. At its best, jazz has always offered us more opportunities -- intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. And Frahm and Mehldau's "Don't Explain" is jazz at its finest.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Many of today's jazz audience has been introduced to the music of Brad Mehldau: be it his hard-swinging, rocking trio with Larry Grenadier and Jorge Rossi, his more experimental album Largo, or his appearances with other jazz venerables such as Charlie Haden. 'Don't Explain' reunites Mehldau with an old teenage friend Joel Frahm, who plays the sax.
The opening title, a Holliday classic "Don't Explain", sets the perfect mood for this album. This is a warmer, more introspective Mehldau than the one we are used to hearing on his trio albums. It's the gentleness that was evident in his outing with Lee Konitz and Charlie Haden, the gentleness that is often missed in his more intense, more prodigal outlet that is his trio. This is meant not as a criticism of his trio, but to contrast it with the settings that this album provides.
Mehldau's syncopated playing is perfectly matched in "Round Midnight", providing a very dynamic, almost groovy background to Frahm's singing saxophone. Frahm's playing does provide a very interesting contrast to Mehldau's sometimes forceful playing, instead providing a very fluid, very light touch on the melody.
In summary, this album seems to me the logical continuation of the mood created first in the Konitz/Haden/Mehldau "Alone Together", with the coverage of the Beatles' "Mother Natures Son" being the exception.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully subtle and musically inspiring December 23, 2005
Format:Audio CD
Duet line-ups are interestingly one of the less explored areas of the jazz genre. However, after listening to this CD, duets have become my favourite line-up.

This is in fact the perfect example of a duet album, wiht wonderful interpretations of some well known jazz standards and popular tunes. I very much disagree with the earlier review, that this album would be better with a full rhythm section, of course if that were to be recorded, it would be very good also. There is nothing empty or lacking about this album; a soft flowing tenor sound which compliments the comping of Brad's piano.

Furthermore, this IS a duet album. There is a perfect balance of both players in both acompaniment and feature. They have got the texture and climaxes of this numbers spot on.
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