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  • Ode
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars18
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on April 1, 2012
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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VINE VOICEon September 8, 2012
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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on March 20, 2012
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. And perhaps best of all is "Twiggy" dedicated to Brad's wife, jazz singer Fleurine, which is both beautiful and complex, with Brad's hot solo driven along by a skipping gait, some single note 'comping', and latin accents underneath from Ballad; likewise for "Days of Dilbert Delaney", dedicated to his son, which is 9 minutes of trio cohesion and excellence; and the unique "Wyatt's Eulogy for George Hanson", a wonderful, rather free-ish 5-note invention wherein each player supports and contributes simultaneously. The Brad Mehldau Trio's first studio recording in 7 years is superb jazz music, generous in time, and gets my HIghest Recommendation. Five SMOKING Stars! (This review is based on an mp3 download. 11 Tracks; Time: 75:24) (Trivia: Brad Mehldau won the DownBeat Reader's Poll as top jazz pianist in 2011.)
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on February 4, 2013
Excellent! I find myself thinking how glad I am that someone else devoted their life to the Piano. The fact that at least one of us can make music like this gives me hope that we may actually be redeemed as a species.
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on May 5, 2012
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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on March 21, 2012
Brad Mehld come back to a classical jazz trio after years of another things: contemporary music, albums with opera singers and solo piano albums.This is the really Brad Mehldau that I like. Is a incredible album with new songs and in certain way a new inspiration. Is clear, pure, there is not any kind of fake. Part of the CD was record in 2008, and the other part is from 2011, but is the same, is the same grand music. Welcome to the world of the jazz trio music. Great Trio, Great Music
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on August 9, 2013

Brad Mehldau - Piano
Larry Grenadier - Bass
Jeff Ballard - Drums

I own almost every record of Mehldau's and this easily ranks among, if not the, very best. With his Trio the music here is consistently full of surprises and kinetic interplay. A collection of all original music, every song feels distinctly written for this group. What makes this recording stand out even among Mehldau's other work is the elevated performances of his peers; Grenadier's always fantastic sound is extremely well-recorded here and Ballard's playing is particularly driving and responsive. A must have.

Highlights -

Dream Sketch
Kurt Vibe
Days Of Dilbert Delaney
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on January 31, 2013
i didn't quite know the trio, the suggestion came from a friend. What touches me the most is to hear the panist and the basist sweep the notes instead of banging them. I imagine how soft it would be to hear Brad's music on a record instead of a cd. It would be like having acces to the sound of the waves of the sea licking the sand of the beach.
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on April 11, 2012
Brad Mehldau is always superb. It's a beautiful recording that would appeal both to jazz lovers and to others. Bears repeated playings without becoming boring.
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on August 17, 2014
This is some very good and satisfying trio work. Great band. It is really relaxing at the same time it gives you an appreciation for the musicians. It also has some great mid tempo material.
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