Where Do You Start
There’s something hypnotic in the way Mehldau plays – in that sense I think back to discovering Keith Jarrett. There’s the grace, the slow-build, the confidence. And with Mehldau it’s all built from a steady ostinato – and then he layers across. Gorgeous and charming and so easy to get lost in – when he’s on form.
And though he’s rarely put a duff note on record I was supremely bored by a live performance a few years back. So much so that it stopped me in my tracks with Brad Mehldau. Until that point I’d avidly collected anything with his name attached. After that show I didn’t listen to him. I couldn’t.
And I don’t think it was a case of an off-night (for him anyway, must have been me) because I copped grief from a load of people at the show. I got it wrong, apparently. My review was way off – I was witnessing one of the great living pianists, we were lucky to have him, and I needed to show some goddamn respect.
The local jazz bunch are funny like that – too excited at the chance to see the name, so not concerned about whether the name lives up to the hype and hope.
I was so sad about not enjoying Mehldau live. But if I ever wondered how to find a way back in, and I never did until hearing this, Where Do You Start has proved the perfect re-introduction.
Mehldau has pumped out the music – and on the strength of this I’ll be heading back to pick up what I’ve missed out on post-gig. But there’s more than enough to get lost in here, 75 minutes of music, mostly covers, recorded in two stages – the album was started in 2008, competed in 2012.
The intuitiveness of the trio continues to astound, set, for the most part, to a near-permanent slow-burn here. The music wafts and is glorious. It’s deeply calm, meditative – at times it had me recalling the jazz-end of what The Necks offer.
Mehldau is back. And yet of course for most of his fans he never went away. Nor gave them any reason to go away. But I’m sure pleased to be back. This record makes me very happy. It’s thoughtful, poignant, full of passion and the playing is so very close to perfect.