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Ode

16 customer reviews

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Ode
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Audio CD, March 20, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Ode is pianist Brad Mehldau's long-awaited 2012 studio set playing trio with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, their first studio recording since this "graceful powerhouse" of a lineup, as the New York Times recently put it, made its Nonesuch debut in 2005 with Day Is Done. This time, however, all the tunes are Mehldau originals, written with Grenadier and Ballard in mind. As the pianist elaborates, "I feel that what they bring to the music in the performance here is inseparable from the tunes themselves. It was music I wrote to play with them specifically."


1. M.B.
2. Ode
3. 26
4. Dream Sketch
5. Bee Blues
6. Twiggy
7. Kurt Vibe
8. Stan the Man
9. Eulogy for George Hanson
10. Aquaman
11. Days of Dilbert Delaney

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 20, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B0071BY1ZQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,066 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By TigerFan on April 1, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This album is truly something special. As mentioned the title "Ode" can be misleading. It's not just tunes that sound like other artists, this is very much an original Mehldau trio recording. Not to mention there are "odes" to his wife, his (amazing drummer) Jeff Ballard, an ode to the idea of odes themselves, and one to his favorite childhood superhero (Aquaman - when I saw the title I figured it'd be based on someone's nickname, the liner notes show that no, he really is writing to THAT Aquaman). He's really having fun with the idea.

All that being said, there is absolutely nothing gimmicky about this record. It is at the same time a great vibe record - you can have it on in the background while deep in thought, reflection, etc. or you can actively listen to it as a piece of music that can be thoroughly enjoyed. The playing is all top notch. Grenadier has been with Mehldau throughout all of his trio recordings, and is the ultimate pinnacle of bassists for this style of jazz. Jeff Ballard on drums is otherworldly. He is perhaps the most unique jazz drummer in the scene today, his playing is never anything short of extraordinary with amazing feel.

If you like piano jazz at all or just great music, I highly highly recommend this. It is everything we all love about acoustic jazz trios. I cannot say enough positives about it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kirk McElhearn VINE VOICE on September 8, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I own all of Brad Mehldau's recordings - at least those as a leader or soloist. I'm not a big fan of jazz, but I like piano jazz, and something about Mehldau's style has always pleased me since I first heard one of his recordings some ten years ago.

His studio recordings are a mixed bag, with those that are not trios often disappointing me. Highway Rider has some nice tunes, but I'm not inspired to play it often; and the two recordings with Pat Metheny don't work for me either. The two song discs he did with Renée Fleming and Anne Sofie von Otter are also not very inspiring.

But put him in a studio with two trusted musicians on drum and bass, and magic can happen. This disc, which is a series of odes to different people, all originals, the first such studio album since Day Is Done in 2005. I have nothing against Brad's covers; he takes standards and pop songs and interprets them in a delightful manner. But this record shows he is inspired, that he has a lot to say when he creates his own music. It's lively, enjoyable, and the interplay among the musicians is nearly perfect. All of the tracks are fairly long, most being 7-9 minutes, yet without any fat at all.

I'm looking forward to hearing some of these works on future live recordings. In the meantime, I've been listening to this disc over and over, and it is certainly one of his best studio releases.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By RBSProds TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 20, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Five BIG Stars!! Exciting, excellent jazz performances. Don't let the title "Ode" fool you, this cooking CD captures one of the tightest, most original trios on the jazz scene today, led by jazz virtuoso pianist & composer Brad Mehldau, with great support & solos from Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums, in mostly blazing, inventive, hard-swinging performances. As explained in the liner notes, this 'all- Mehldau compositions' set contains 'odes' dedicated to family, friends, peers, and even a favorite Jack Nicholson "Easy Rider" movie character. Mehldau uses a thoughtful compositional technique where he writes for each player's strengths, and then lets the performances grow organically into the final rhythmic and harmonic frameworks when they become 'ripe'. The 'best of the best' begins with the tempo-shifting, bluesy "M.B." (for the late, great saxophone titan Michael Brecker) with its attractive, almost subliminally familiar theme. The lyrical (meta) "Ode" builds beautifully over an insistent Ballard beat. "26" is a sizzling Mehldau performance that cooks for most of the 8 inventive minutes. The quirky "Bee Blues" has Brad playing simultaneous, ambidextrous notes in both theme and solo, with a hip bass solo from Grenadier. The funky "Kurt Vibe" has Grenadier and Mehldau interweaving ideas over Ballad's backbeat. "Stan The Man" has a great Ballad drum solo.Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By jassman on May 5, 2012
Format: MP3 Music
Wow, it's great to listen to an entire album where every cut is this worthwhile and this good! No mediocre tracks, no filler. Just pure music, acoustic bliss. This is some of the best new jazz I've heard this year in 2012. I must be getting old though, because that last sentence almost sounded like the Zager and Evans song, In The Year 2525. But If The Brad Mehldau Trio and I ARE still alive, I'll still be listening to them, especially if they sound this great. Ode is easily a top contender for best jazz record of the year, essential music for today and Brad's best since Day is Done. Lots of rhythmic playfulness and shifting moods from Mehldau and company. Some of the compositions reveal themselves over time, making multiple listenings both pleasurable and rewarding. This is a generous portion of jazz, a full course meal, a complete banquet of heady, meaty, profound and nourishing piano trio jazz goodness. Yum!
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