WHETHER HE is playing original compositions, jazz standards, or offering unique takes on songs by Nick Drake, Radiohead, The Beatles and Neil Young, Brad Mehldau is at the cutting edge of modern jazz.
Galway audiences will be able to enjoy this musician, whom MOJO described as “brilliant”, at the Radisson Live Lounge on Monday July 12 at 8pm as part of the Galway Arts Festival.
Born in 1970 in Jacksonville, Florida, Mehldau’s family moved to Connecticut where he spent most of his childhood. At sophomore in high school he won BerkeleY College’s Best All-Round Musician award and moved to New York in 1988 to study jazz at New York’s New School for Social Research under Fred Hirsch, Junior Mance, Kenny Werner, and Jimmy Cobb.
Though Mehldau’s training is primarily classical, his interest in jazz began early. He has recorded and performed extensively since the early 1990s. His most consistent output over the years has taken place in the trio format.
Starting in 1996, his group released a series of five records entitled The Art of the Trio. Mehldau also has a solo piano recording entitled ‘Elegiac Cycle’, and a record called Places that includes both solo piano and trio songs.
Other Mehldau recordings include Largo, a collaborative effort with musician and producer Jon Brion, and Anything Goes a trio outing with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy.
The collaboration with Rossy led to the eventual formation of The Brad Mehldau Trio and the album Day Is Done the same year. The critically acclaimed double live trio recording entitled Brad Mehldau Trio Live was released in 2008.
Mehldau is first and foremost an improviser, and he cherishes the surprise and wonder that can occur from a spontaneous musical idea that is expressed directly. The two sides of Mehldau’s personality, the improviser and the formalist, play off each other.
The festival programme and tickets are available from www.galwayartsfestival.com The festival box office, Galway Tourist Office, Forster Street, opens on June 21.