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Posts Tagged ‘Rudy Royston’

Recent albums, Mehldau and Royston

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More new releases recently including today’s fare: electric new Brad Mehldau and drummer Rudy Royston’s long-time-coming debut as leader. In the near future, look out for reviews of a new John Zorn album with the guitar driven band Abraxas and a more straight ahead, sax heavy release from Seamus Blake and Chris Cheek. It’s hard to imagine a set of more dissimilar albums; in instrumentation, in feel and in background they are all very different. Yet I think taken together they are a good indication of the state of the music, each showcasing high quality musicianship in its own unique way.

I first heard about master pianist Brad Mehldau’s new project months ago. A duo with drummer-percussionist Mark Guiliana wherein Brad largely eschews piano in favor of Rhodes and a variety of synthesizer set ups. The more traditionalist among you may already have been put off the album from this description, but to me this sounded absolutely fascinating. Brad is such a strong technician and usually approaches new projects with a such a complete vision for the final product that no matter how different, the results always seem to work. I went in to my first listen of his album Highway Rider, which at first I viewed as one of those jazz with strings gimmicks, expecting to hate it. Despite my best efforts, by the end of the album it had become one of my all time favorites, on the strength of beautiful long form compositions, well crafted orchestrations and fabulous playing from everyone involved. While I certainly hope he doesn’t abandon the tried and true trio, I see a new format like the one he has with Guiliana as a great opportunity.

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