Жанр: Straight-Ahead Jazz, Post-Bop, Modern Creative
Страна-производитель диска (релиза): USA
Издатель (лейбл): Nonesuch Records
Год издания: 2016
Joshua Redman — саксофон
Brad Mehldau — фо-но
1: Ornithology (Charlie Parker & Bennie Harris) 8:38
2: Always August (Brad Mehldau) 10:55
3: In Walked Bud (Thelonious Monk) 9:56
4: Mehlsancholy Mode (Joshua Redman)12:36
5: The Nearness of You (Hoagy Carmichael & Ned Washington) 16:44
6: Old West (Brad Mehldau) 14:39
Brad Mehldau first came to prominence as a member of Joshua Redman’s quartet in the 1990s before becoming a bandleader himself. The pair first reunited in 2010 when Redman was featured on Mehldau’s album Highway Rider. In 2013, Mehldau was featured as a performer and producer on Redman’s Walking Shadows.
«It’s like one of those friendships where you don’t see someone for a long stretch and then you fall right back where you left off,» Mehldau told the Ottawa Citizen when he and Redman performed at the city’s jazz festival in 2011. According to the Citizen’s Peter Hum, these two friends are «among the most potent and influential jazz instrumentalists of their generation, and what Mehldau calls ‘picking up’ is in fact world-class improvising before rapt audiences.»
Each artist has recorded extensively for Nonesuch, with a wide variety of collaborators. Brad Mehldau’s label debut was the 2004 solo disc Live in Tokyo and includes six records with his trio: House on Hill, Day Is Done, Brad Mehldau Trio Live, Ode, Where Do You Start, and Blues and Ballads. His collaborative records on the label include Love Sublime, Highway Rider, Metheny Mehldau, Metheny Mehldau Quartet, Modern Music, and Mehliana: Taming the Dragon. Mehldau’s additional solo albums on Nonesuch include Live in Marciac and last year’s 8-LP/4-CD 10 Years Solo Live, which the New York Times says «contains some of the most impressive pianism he has captured on record.»
Joshua Redman’s first album on Nonesuch was the Grammy-nominated Momentum, released in 2005. His other releases on the label include Back East, Compass, and Trios Live, all of which explore the trio format; MoodSwing, originally released in 1994 with Redman’s own band, including Mehldau, and re-released by Nonesuch in 2009; Walking Shadows, his first recording to include an orchestral ensemble, from 2013; and The Bad Plus Joshua Redman, his 2015 collaboration with the acclaimed trio, which the New York Times called «a knockout» and NPR called «a roaring and beautiful summit meeting.» In 2004, he was a founder of the SFJAZZ Collective, an eight-piece, multi-generational ensemble of accomplished musicians. Since 2009, Redman has been performing with a new collaborative group called James Farm, whose members also include pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland. The group has two releases on Nonesuch; their self-titled album from 2011, and City Folk, released in 2014.
I tend to refrain from reviewing anything too soon, and I have listened to this only once; however, I gave it my full attention, and I knew even before it was over that I was listening to something special. Redman and Mehldau clearly bring out the best in each other; they’ve been playing together for a long time, and it shows here (although of course I realize this was recorded nearly five years ago). I especially enjoy hearing Redman in this intimate context, since with a rhythm section (especially with just bass and drums) he sometimes overplays. His tenor playing on «The Nearness of You» is exquisite, and in general it is a sublimely patient performance (clocking in at just over sixteen minutes). The tempo is achingly slow, and Mehldau’s solo introduction establishes the overall mood, from which they never waver. (The temperature subtly rises as it proceeds, but both musicians show tremendous respect for Hoagy Carmichael’s beautiful song, and Redman’s solo statement at the end is superb.) It is ballad playing at its very finest.
It is a nicely paced recording, and it is beautifully recorded (each track was recorded at a different venue, but the sound is seamless), with an equal measure of standards and original compositions. The two new original compositions are excellent (and contribute inestimably to the overall flow of the recording), and I already think of «Old West» as an old favourite of theirs.
Redman plays more tenor than soprano on this, and I would say that his soprano playing has improved over the years (but I will confess I don’t always love the sound of a soprano saxophone).
Interestingly, I have no idea whether to file this under Redman or Mehldau, because it represents a genuine collaboration. Nearness, indeed.
Coda: I will miss their gig in Urbana, Illinois on September 23rd, but I hope someone reading this will be able to attend.