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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff
I wonder if the folks who give this album less than five stars are listening to the same ablum as I have for the past week commuting to work and back... Obviously not. I've lost count of the number of times I've listened to this and there's still plenty to discover and get the juices flowing. One thing seems clear; both guys bring their own superb musicianship and...
Published on February 16, 2007 by Baz

versus
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in theory, end result puzzling
When I first heard that Pat and Brad were making an album together it was like WOW, I can't wait. I guess my expectations were way too high, (given the incredible tallent of both). So when I first listened to it, it was strange, I felt something missing. Then I heard it again, and again. It started to warm, but never caught fire.

So I had to break it apart. On...
Published on January 17, 2007 by CharlieGreene


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff, February 16, 2007
By 
Baz (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Metheny / Mehldau (Audio CD)
I wonder if the folks who give this album less than five stars are listening to the same ablum as I have for the past week commuting to work and back... Obviously not. I've lost count of the number of times I've listened to this and there's still plenty to discover and get the juices flowing. One thing seems clear; both guys bring their own superb musicianship and individuality to the album and the whole is without doubt greater than the sum of the parts - and minus any gratuitous noodling or empty virtuosity (perish the thought). Just great jazz from two of the best. One of my albums for the desert island. Very highly recommended. More, please...
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50 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As much as I like this disc . . ., September 13, 2006
This review is from: Metheny / Mehldau (Audio CD)
. . . and I must say, I like it a WHOLE LOT, what really blows me away are the two quartet numbers which add Larry Grenadier (bass) and Jeff Ballard (drums), maybe the smartest rhythm team on the planet (unless it's Ben Allison and Ballard). Is this the new PMG group for the new century, or what? These four guys mesh magically, even more so than the group on which I first encountered PMG, their great disc Off Ramp.

For one thing, they're all peers in a way that, great as they are, Lyle Mays, and whoever's on bass and drums will never be Metheny's peers. In the liner notes to this disc, Mehldau tells about how at 17 he first heard Metheny, and it forever changed him. Well, the acolyte is now the equal: If anything, Mehldau has surpassed his idol.

For me, Jeff Ballard defines smart, 21st century drumming. Whatever session he's on, he lifts it to the next level, be it his longtime Medicine Wheel gig, his work on the Elastic Band, his duo with Frank Kimbrough, The Willow, or his trio gig with Grenadier and Mark Turner, Fly.

Larry Grenadier, of course, has played with both Metheny and Mehldau before, but never in the same group. And he and Ballard were part of Mehldau's Day Is Done trio. So these guys need no introduction. That they nearly telepathically interact should come as no surprise. What IS a surprise, however, is how entirely natural they sound together, as if they'd all been playing as a unit for a couple decades.

But, that said, this disc is primarily a duo outing. How does it succeed on that level? Quite magnificently, thank you. Mehldau and Metheny seem to have their own kind of telepathy, perhaps even more magical, in its own way, than the quartet. For one thing, it strikes me that it's much more difficult to create enough harmonic and especially rhythmic dynamism in a guitar-piano duo than it is in a guitar-piano-bass-drums quartet. That Mehldau/Metheny consistently find the key to creative interaction says a lot about their individual genius, somehow conjoined spectacularly in this mainly duo setting.

If the duo selections impress more by their technical mastery than by their sheer delightful musicality, that is only to expected; this setting, almost by its very nature, if it works at all, yields a kind of luxuriant albeit happy synchronicity rather than ravishing melodicism, rhythmic complexity, and harmonic expansiveness (although, it must be admitted, the more I listen to the duo tracks the more they give up unexpected treasures).

So this disc, for me, at least, is a kind of unexpected treasure-trove: a ridiculously rewarding piano/guitar excursion casually trumped by the quartet tracks.

But how about it, Pat? Can't our hopes for his greatest PMG ever be realized on at least one disc featuring Metheny, Mehldau, Grenadier, and Ballard? Now THERE'S a group for the ages.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in theory, end result puzzling, January 17, 2007
This review is from: Metheny / Mehldau (Audio CD)
When I first heard that Pat and Brad were making an album together it was like WOW, I can't wait. I guess my expectations were way too high, (given the incredible tallent of both). So when I first listened to it, it was strange, I felt something missing. Then I heard it again, and again. It started to warm, but never caught fire.

So I had to break it apart. On Mehldau side, very good. On Metheny side, very good but as stand alone, it missses in retrospect (comparing this project to other collaborations, like say the Jim Hall album, Question and Answer and Rejoicing).

But in no way is this an inferior album, the playing and writting is superb.

I would recommend it, but Pat and Brad have better.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A combo which works., May 23, 2007
By 
power (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Metheny / Mehldau (Audio CD)
The immediate question here is does this seemingly musical marriage made in heaven live up to expectation?

The answer is a resounding yes for the alchemy between these players is evident from the first note.

Curiously their paths have crossed over the past ten years without there being the opportunity to play together.

Metheny first heard of Mehldau via saxophonist Joshua Redman (whose father the great tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman sadly passed away this week)who was about to take on the young pianist, while Mehldau was a long-time admirer of Metheny since he started listening to music.

What impresses here is the sheer ease with which the two play and in such a sophisticated and engaging manner.

The freshness of 'Say the Brother's name', one of two terrific quartet numbers with the infectious accompaniment of Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard, finds Metheny's guitar at its most euphoric since the historical trio sessions with Roy Haynes and Dave Holland from 1989.

Compositionally Metheny takes the lion's share with seven pieces while Mehldau adds three of his own.

One would ideally have liked a double album where the quartet had an entire disc devoted to its ensemble playing and it is only this slight imbalance between duo and quartet that makes this recording marginally short of a full five stars.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, September 23, 2006
By 
This review is from: Metheny / Mehldau (Audio CD)
That's the only way I can describe this CD. It literally compelled me to sit still and listen. Usually I can listen to a new CD in the background while I work but no, with this one I had to stop everything, sit down and listen.

These two are established giants in jazz - Metheny in guitar and with the Pat Metheny Group and Mehldau in piano and with the Brad Mehldau trio. They speak on the inner sleeve notes of having been huge fans of each other; Metheny says the first time he heard Mehldau's solo on the song "Chill" (from the Joshua Redman Quartet CD "MoodSwing") on his car radio, he had to pull over in his car to listen to it. I reviewed that record just recently so I know what he speaks about. For me personally, it was Mehldau's work on John Scofield's album "Works For Me" that made me stand up and take notice. From the solo on the first song "I'll Catch You", I was like, wow. I've been a huge Brad's fan ever since.

Mehldau on the other hand woke up to Metheny after hearing the live version of "Are You Going With Me?" on the PMG CD "Travels". Everything Metheny does is magic to me so again, I could identify.

Pat writes seven out of the ten songs, Brad the other three. On eight out of the ten they play as a duo and on the other two - "Ring of Life" (a real swinger, with Pat on guitar synth) and "Say The Brother's Name", they form a quartet with Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums. (Grenadier and Ballard formed the trio with Mehldau on last year's "Day Is Done".)

Each song is a delight and it's really interesting to see how the two almost seem to articulate their mutual respect for each other in the playing. No one tries to outplay the other and I almost get the sense that they support each other through their respective solos. It's like, play brother, I got your back. They play with each other as opposed to against each other like some players do. I'm used to hearing this kind of playing between Metheny and Lyle Mays but Brad is a totally different kind of piano player and this makes it all the more interesting to listen to.

My only worry was with the song "Say The Brother's Name". Pat did this song with John Scofield on their joint project "I Can See Your House From Here" and that song is one of my all time favourites. It's almost sacrosanct. I couldn't see it being bettered here and I was worried it would be all messed up in my psyche and stuff. Stupid, I know but what can I say?

In reality, the song is just performed very differently here (duh!). It's a bit faster, with a bit more kick to the drums, which makes it a bit livelier and the increased pace makes it seem a bit longer. (It's actually three seconds shorter). I think they did a good job with it. I'll never like it more than the old version but I like it enough.

"Make Peace", with Pat on baritone acoustic guitar, is a song for our time if there ever was one. It rounds off the album beautifully.

I doubt I'd have to persuade any fan of either man here to get this album but even if you've never bought anything by Pat Metheny or Brad Mehldau before and want to try them out - this is a great place to start. It showcases what each man is about, musically and brings it all together in a compelling but enjoyable package. Five stars easily.

PS. I read somewhere recently, that this is the first of two sets of songs the duo recorded together. The second set is due to be released in a second album due out sometime next year.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Metheny / Mehldau, March 5, 2007
By 
This review is from: Metheny / Mehldau (Audio CD)
Probably one of the most important "straight ahead" jazz cds out on the market. I'm actually starting to gain a new found respect for this type of jazz. Now I understand what my dad was trying to tell me. I told him that "Smooth Jazz" is just as good as "Straight ahead" jazz. That's like comparing apples and oranges. Completely different in rhythm and emotion. Thanks dad for the music education. :)
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Collection of Duets from Metheny and Mehldau., September 12, 2006
By 
This review is from: Metheny / Mehldau (Audio CD)
Once again, we find Jazz guitar great Pat Metheny teaming with another unlikely collaboration, this time with pianist Brad Mehldau who has quickly become one of the most talked about Jazz pianists in recent years.

Upon listening to the duo's self-titled disc, you'd think these two greats had been playing together for decades. Metheny's trademark guitar stylings go hand-in-hand with Mehldau's Jarrett-like piano voicings. In fact there are moments where Mehldau's playing echoes that of long-time Metheny sidekick Lyle Mays especially on the track "Summer Day".

Most of the music on the album is played in an unitruding peaceful manner and is on the quiet relaxing side. The guitar/piano duet mold is broken twice on the album with "Ring Of Life" and the excellent "Say The Brother's Name". On these two tracks, Metheny and Mehldau are joined by bassist Larry Gernadier (another Metheny collaborator and current member of Mehldau's trio) and drummer Jeff Ballard (also of Mehldau's trio). The former track is a typical Pat Metheny piece with its fluid guitar phrasings and a great solo from Metheny's trademark "horn" sound from his guitar-synth. Mehldau also delivers a fine piano lead here. The latter track has an almost-latin feel to it and sounds like it could be a Metheny Group piece latter down the line.

As mentioned above, the sounds on this CD are proof that these two great musicians were meant to play together. The sound and style of Metheny and Mehldau is unique and original. When put together, there is an unprecidented amount of magic here.

This CD is another in a long running series of classics from Pat Metheny and at the same time is possibly Brad Mehldau's greatest effort.

Highly recommended!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise., February 8, 2007
This review is from: Metheny / Mehldau (Audio CD)
I've listened to Pat Metheny since I was a kid, and have seen him several times live with the Pat Metheny Group. That said, probably the first thing I should admit about this disc is that I fully expected to be disappointed by it.

Why? Well, for as adventuresome as Pat's work is with the PMG, and some of the solo work as well, I've found a lot of his collaborative work to be a snoozefest. The man is, always and without fail, an amazing guitarist, but some of his efforts in collaboration--"I Can See Your House From Here," "Beyond The Missouri Sky," and "The Sound of Summer Running" come to mind--are much less than the sum of their parts.

But I digress.

You won't hear dazzling displays of chops on this album; it's not about two people trying to one-up each other. What you'll get, instead, is two musicians that not only "get" each other on a deep musical level, they also challenge each other. If you're a fan of Lyle Mays (as I am), you'll understand exactly how talented Brad Mehldau is in his own right when I tell you you won't miss Lyle even for a minute. As a musician, composer, and arranger, Brad Mehldau comes to these sessions not as just another collaborator, but as an equal.

As an aside (but what an aside!) the two tracks on the album that expand the duo to a four-piece are not to be missed. One can only hope that this is just the first of many times these two (or four, if you'd like) will record together. The composing and playing are too compelling, and point to far too many possibilities, for this to be just a one-shot deal.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tapestry, February 11, 2007
By 
Thomas C. Zink (Long Beach, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Metheny / Mehldau (Audio CD)
What more can be said about these two, beyond that they are individually two of the greatest players ever on their respective instruments? What's really amazing about this disk is how beautifully they integrate with each other. It's so flawless, and melodically complimentary that at times it seems entirely written out, and yet maintains such a spontaneous energy it is evident that each artist is reacting to the joy of performing with the other. Their compositional styles are markedly different in ways that keep the album fresh and diverse without sounding disjointed. I enjoy this CD more each time I hear it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, May 16, 2007
By 
Michael A. Wolff (St. Louis, MO United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Metheny / Mehldau (Audio CD)
Along with the Quartet release, a great album, although I enjoyed the Quartet more (including the quartet pieces on this album), perhaps because the bass and drums are so great. This is a great collaboration. If you like Metheny's more mainstream jazz/electro work, you will want this album. I never would have believed it, but Mehldau sounds better with Metheny than Mays ever did.

This is a group that is a must see if they play anywhere near you. Also buy the Quartet album.
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Metheny / Mehldau
Metheny / Mehldau by Brad Mehldau (Audio CD - 2006)
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