Metheny/Mehldau – Nonesuch B000GQLAZW, 66:00 **** [Release Date: Sept. 12]:

by | Sep 4, 2006 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Metheny/Mehldau – Nonesuch B000GQLAZW, 66:00 **** [Release Date: Sept. 12]:

(Pat Metheny, guitars; Brad Mehldau, piano; plus rhythm section on two tracks)

Mehldau, one of the most exciting newer jazz pianists working today, was awarded the prestigious Miles Davis Award by the Montreal Jazz Festival in June. He has been very busy for his present record label recently – after having made ten CDs with the associated Warner Bros. Jazz label. We reviewed his trio disc with songs he wrote between 1994 and 2004, House on Hill. Then he did a duo album with classical soprano Renee Fleming performed songs He has written for her. Now here’s another duo, pairing up Mehldau with the very guitarist who blew him away when as a 13-year-old child prodigy, a friend had played for him Pat Metheny’s 1982 album Travels. On the other side of the equation, Metheny dug Mehldau’s solos on the 1994 Joshua Redman album Moodswing.

The two artists have put together a partnership sharing their inspirations, and this new album, with three tunes by Mehldau and the other seven by Metheny, is the delightful result. I am finding myself especially attracted to such duo sessions. They put a magnifying glass on the improvisations of both artists in a way that doesn’t occur with the typical quartet or quintet.  Perhaps part of it is my dislike of many drummers, who I feel just try to make as much noise as possible – not regarding their traps as a musical instrument.

All the tunes are worth hearing. Metheny is in a more conservative bag than the often atmospheric mood pieces he does with his own group, and no sound effects here. But the level of the improvisations of both performers is far from same old.  The final track – Make Peace – I found a glorious and hopeful musical statement and perfect wrap up to a must-have album.

Tracks: Unrequited, Ahmid-6, Summer Day, Ring of Life, Legend, Find Me In Your Dreams, Say the Brother’s Name, Bachelors III, Annie’s Bittersweet Cake, Make Peace.

– John Henry

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