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Let's get a few things straight. First, Mehldau has lost none of his pianistic brilliance. If you think so, give a listen his outro solo on "Dropjes." Secondly, he most certainly does know how to inject his unique pianism into Jon Brion's soundscapes. Check out how integrated and wonderful-sounding his piano is on "Paranoid Android," which showcases everything that's great about this record--the seemless integration of jazz and pop elements, the extraordinarily clear piano sound, the discrete use of electronics, the perfect translation of a pop sensibility into an authentic jazz setting. Third, there's noting wrong with Melhdau's vibes playing. It's a little naive and ideosyncratic, but so what?
Mehldau has always been a master of moods. Nothing has changed here; what he's done, in my view, is just brilliantly expand his musical/emotional palette. This, quite naturally, doesn't sit well with everyone. Tough luck.
If you're down with Dave Douglas' Freak In, The Bad Plus, Happy Apple, Chris Destrin, etc., you'll dig it. Otherwise, probably not.
The original songs are also amazing. The opener, "When it Rains" has a lovely melody and a breathtaking arrangement reminiscent of early Randy Newman. When I first heard the song I had to check the liner notes because it sounded like a standard. The entire album is like that -- beautiful songs and unique arrangements that sould so exquisite, you wonder why nobody else thought of them.
Producer Jon Brion -- better known as a pop producer for artists like Aimee Mann and Fiona Apple -- brings a distinctive sound to this album, one of the years' best and another chapter in the amazing career of Brad Mehldau.
My advice, whatever that's worth, is that, if you are already a devoted fan, you need to listen to this disc and test your loyalties. If you are just a fan of the style he has played previously, then you need to be careful. If you've never heard of him (which is highly unlikely), then you want to take a listen to cuts from several of his other CDs to get a more complete picture of Brad Mehldau. I might listen to INTRODUCING. . . or ELEGIAC CYCLE or TRIO, VOLUMES ONE and/or FIVE more often, but this one will stay in the rotation, for when I'm feeling a bit more adventuresome. . . .
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fresh off the success of his extravagant live 2-CD set Progression: The Art Of
The Trio, Volume 5 (2001) and his “99/00” Millennium World Tour, Brad Mehldau
decided... Read more
A very disappointing CD, full o elevator music! What a shame such a talented pianist (in my humble opinion, the best young Jazz piano player) gets involved in a project such as... Read morePublished on September 26, 2011 by Flavio A. Gominho
Largo is a very interesting recording in Mehldau's discography for a number of reasons. It is his first recording with a large group, the first time he has recorded vibraphone and... Read morePublished on March 30, 2011 by Amazon Customer
This CD was given to me by a friend who HATED it! He was expecting "straight-ahead" jazz and instead heard "cacophony". Potato...PotaTOE, to each his own! Read morePublished on January 22, 2010 by J.R.
It seems from this release as though what Brad Mehldau really wants to be is a rock star. Not that the really wants to play rock music, he just wants to be something of a rock... Read morePublished on July 28, 2009 by Karl W. Nehring
I've learned to like this album once I got passed the Radiohead cover of Paranoid Android. My problem with that is that PA is not the nice and sweet tune it is made out. Read morePublished on February 23, 2009 by mike
I never hear of Brad Mehldau before "Largo"; so I can't comment on how this may differ from other work. Read morePublished on September 5, 2008 by Lee Armstrong
Patrick Burnette is way out of touch! His negative review criticizes this aurally exciting and outstandingly musical offering. Read morePublished on March 25, 2008 by Irene Shotadze