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Mehliana: Taming the Dragon

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Editors’ Notes

Pianist Brad Mehldau is well known for his interpretation of the Great American Songbook, but his work often draws on classical music too. And he’s no stranger to rock or pop; he sounds at home covering rock songs or collaborating with pop producer Jon Brion. On 2014’s Taming the Dragon, he teams with drummer Mark Guiliana; they call their duo Mehliana. Together they make music that comes off like an update of '70s prog rock and fusion. Mehldau plays Fender Rhodes and synthesizer here, often at the same time, creating a rich tapestry of tones. Guiliana is a great drummer; his playing is full of nuance, and he's as precise as a machine when he wants to be. The opening title track incorporates moody spoken word and surges of squelching synth and furious percussion. “Luxe” is a drum'n'bass-inflected slice of prog, where fidgety rhythms hook up with grand keyboard assertions. “Elegy for Amelia E.” marks a change in pace. Somber electric piano lines and sustained synth tones set the scene for a crackly recording of Amelia Earhart. The melancholy and restrained “London Gloaming” closes the album.

Customer Reviews

Jazz genius

So these guys live and they were excellent

Great album

Two innovators of our generation making beautiful music. Defying genres brooo

Brave New Jazz

Jazz is and should always be an ever-evolving art form in which composition meets improvisation and innovation. Sure, Miles will always be Mies. Duke Ellington will always be Ellington. Weather Report will always be Weather Report. But all of those artists pushed Jazz to the limits of definition. And so it goes. And with this adventurous new album from two absolutely brilliant musicians, we hear familiar Jazz, electronica, rock and funk sounds put together in a whole new, thoroughly modern way. And yes we hear all kinds of stylistic references to other artists, but if you try to compare this to some of those cats you miss the point. Take it for what it is and see if you like it. All I know is if these guys come to San Francisco, I’ll be there in the front row.


Born: August 23, 1970 in Jacksonville, FL

Genre: Jazz

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

During the '90s and into the 2000s, Brad Mehldau was one among a plethora of young jazz pianists who rose to prominence. He is one of the more absorbing and thoughtful practitioners within that idiom, and he is 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 of Hartford, Connecticut, winning the Berklee College of Music's...
Full Bio
Mehliana: Taming the Dragon, Brad Mehldau
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