Brad Mehldau - Live In Marciac

album review


Recorded live August 2nd 2006 at Jazz in Marciac, Marciac, France

Release date: February 28th 2011

Availability: CD+DVD, MP3 Download

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 Brad Mehldau – Live In Marciac cover

When Keith Jarrett recorded 'The Koln Concert' for ECM in 1975, he did so under less than ideal circumstances. The wrong piano (a baby grand) was set on stage for him to play, one that he disliked and came close to refusing to play. He had driven to Cologne himself by car and arrived exhausted, without much sleep. The sound quality on the recording is not great. But the rest is history. The album is the highest selling solo jazz album of all time. Many would call it a masterpiece. It has notched up 3.5 million sales and rising. Many say that it is the revenue from the album has allowed the ECM label to flourish.

Brad Mehldau's concert for solo piano at Jazz in Marciac, Marciac, France in 2006 was made under much more favorable conditions. The piano is a beautifully tuned Steinway grand. He looks calm and refreshed from whatever traveling has taken him there. The audience is quiet and appreciative. The sound (and video) quality is great.

Brad himself is on top form, working his way through a one and a half hour programme of original compositions ('Storm', 'Unrequited', 'Resignation', 'Trailer Park Ghost', 'Goodbye Storyteller'), standards (Cole Porter's 'It's Alright With Me', James Alan Shelton's 'Lilac Wine', Rogers and Hammerstien's 'My Favorite Things', Bobby Timmons 'Dat Dere', Fain /Webster's 'Secret Love') and novel jazz takes on edgy pop tunes (Radiohead's 'Exit Music (for a film), Kurt Cobain's 'Lithium', Nick Drake's 'Things Behind The Sun', Lennon/ McCartney's ' Martha My Dear').

So, the question is: Will Brad Mehldau's solo concert come close to he success earned by Keith Jarrett? The answer is that on the evidence of these discs, it should.

It's an immersive and beautifully played set that you'll want to return to again and again.

And the presentation is perfect. Why aren't all jazz albums marketed this way? The DVD of the concert is well directed with high quality sound and vision. You really get to appreciate Brad Mehldau's virtuoso piano technique. And it you don't want to watch but would rather listen on iPod, the same music is presented on two CDs that you can load into iTunes or your other favorite MP3 client.

With great music and great presentation like this, Nonesuch might just halt the decline in jazz CD sales.

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 Brad Mehldau – Live In Marciac cover

Our reviews of other albums by Brad Mehldau:

Brad Mehldau - Highway Rider

Brad Mehldau – Trio Live

Brad Mehldau – House On Hill

Pat Metheny and Brad Mehldau - Metheny Mehldau

Pat Metheny / Brad Mehldau – Quartet

Marian McPartland / Brad Mehldau - Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz: Brad Mehldau

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