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Metheny Mehldau

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iTunes Review

The guitar and the piano are prone to occupying the same sonic space, a fact not lost on the two principals here. Guitarist Pat Metheny calls them “challenging instruments to combine”; pianist Brad Mehldau says they were “mindful of the murky pitfalls that can result from a guitar/piano instrumentation.” Still, these two individualistic players threw caution to the wind and let their own rather strong musical personalities take over. (Eight cuts stick to the duo format; the other two, “Ring of Life” and “Say the Brother’s Name,” bring in Mehldau’s regular rhythm section, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard.) As expected, each party brings compositional skill and a unique harmonic approach to the table. Tracks like “Unrequited,” “Legend” (both written by Mehldau), “Summer Day,” and “Find Me in Your Dreams” (by Metheny) have distinct chamber-music characteristics--introspective, evocative, full of atmosphere. Elsewhere, on “Ahmid-6” and “Bachelors III” for example, the music has a bit more momentum and fluency. However, Mehldau’s “Annie’s Bittersweet Cake” really showcases the full potential of this partnership; the effortlessness of the interplay and sharpness of the dialogue counterbalance the song’s inherent tension. There’s a hint of self-indulgence (not a surprise with these two) and most of the pleasures here tend to be cerebral (as opposed to visceral), but it’s always interesting to hear musicians of this magnitude interact.

Customer Reviews

Meeting of two beautiful minds

It had to happen - and it did quite beautifully. Brad Mehldau is this generation's most sensitive and curious jazz piano figure. Every note displays feeling, question, contemplation and discovery. And Metheny - never one to rest on his laurels - is along for the journey, both leading Mehldau to new places and following. The CD is a slight detour for the "Art of the Trio" set and the Metheny "Group" crowd - but, in Metheny-speak, take the offramp and enjoy the ride. The songs are stripped down to their essence and offer a nice range. You can almost see and hear the two artists sharing their setlist ideas at the first session. There are "Mehldau moments" and "Metheny moments" sprinkled throughout. No one standout track. Rather, a suite of of genuine soulful, reverent gems.

11th Grammy for Metheny?

When my two favorite jazz guys were rumored to be doing an album together, my expectations rocketed. And I must say I haven't been disappointed with what I've heard so far. For those who haven't heard their podcast, do check it out. It gives a generous insight into the making of this unique collaboration. I can't wait for the second volume of 'more quartet heavy' material, and seeing the four of them live too in 2007. This is after all Metheny's third record of duets after the Jim Hall and Charlie Haden albums. But in my opinion it stands high above them both.


This is a wonderful album with masterfully respectful interplay between two jazz giants. Guitar and piano can often be a cumbersome match as they can get in each other's way--even the best can step on the other's toes. But this is superbly done – very organic and original. They hold back, build up, and compliment each other with taste and telepathy! The compositions are well done and bring excitement and reflecting thoughts to mind. Like a good painter, these guys bring color and composition to the table on this great offering! Great with headphones on a brisk fall morning run in the park.


Born: August 23, 1970 in Jacksonville, FL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most acclaimed pianists of his generation, Brad Mehldau is a virtuoso performer with an ear for deeply nuanced, harmonically sophisticated acoustic jazz. While Mehldau is one of the more absorbing and thoughtful practitioners within that idiom, he is also receptive to the idea of using material from the rock era (Paul McCartney's "Blackbird," for example). Though Mehldau's training is primarily classical, his interest in jazz began early. He played in the Hall High School jazz band in...
Full Bio
Metheny Mehldau, Brad Mehldau
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