Brad Mehldau on ‘Piano Jazz’ w/ Marian McPartland (1996)

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The contents of the album were first recorded for NPR broadcast in September 1996.[1] The radio broadcast was one in a long series of Piano Jazz programs that featured jazz pianist Marian McPartland in conversation and playing with another musician.[2] The material played is a combination of Mehldau originals and standards.[3]

The two pianists play both individually and together.[3] On “From This Moment On”, Mehldau “utilizes multiple lines simultaneously rather than simply soloing against standard chord changes.” He uses imaginative voicings on “When I Fall in Love”.[4] “McPartland’s solos include moving renditions of ‘I Get Along Without You Very Well’ and the less frequently performed ‘I See Your Face Before Me'”.[4] They duet on “Stella By Starlight” and “Our Love Is Here to Stay”, and “a lively improvised blues to wrap up the date.”[4] During the conversations, “McPartland gets him to talk about some of his core concepts: the ‘voice lead’ (with ‘several voices going at one time’), the implicit rather than stated beat (which requires ‘keeping the pulse in my head’), and ‘compositionally compact’ thematic development.”[2]

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