Guest Post by Dario LaPoma: Brad Mehldau, August Ending

Download the Transcription: Piano Score + Bass

Audio Link: August Ending

“August Ending” Brad Mehldau

For nearly two decades, composer-improvisor Brad Mehldau has left a prophetic mark on the music of our generation. One supporting reason is that his music strikes an emotional, spontaneous core while maintaining a structural quality evident through analysis. House on Hill was released by the Brad Mehldau trio (Rossy on drums) in 2006, and the opening track, “August Ending,” illustrates Mehldau’s search for “successful integration of composed and improvised material.”1 Feel free to decide for yourself, but I’m pretty convinced he’s on the right track.

The composition is bound together by a string of 8th notes (A-Bb), which while fitting colorfully into the harmony serve several foundational purposes throughout the tune. Continue reading

Guest Post by Ari Nahum – Brad Mehldau, Wonderwall

Photo courtesy of Brad Mehldau

Wonderwall, written by Noel Gallagher (Oasis) and performed by: Brad Mehldau, piano; Larry Grenadier, bass; Jeff Ballard, drums.  From Brad Mehldau Trio Live, Nonesuch Records 2008.

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Download the transcription: Concert Pitch

I remember the first time I heard this song.  I was in the kitchen cooking and I turned on the radio to Jazz 88 FM.  Brad was about a third of the way into his solo when I first tuned in.  I remember that almost instantaneously I knew it was him.  This was somewhat expected as once you come to know a great player’s voice it is as easily recognizable as your Mom’s.  But after listening for about 10-15 seconds or so, something else happened, something that perhaps speaks more uniquely to Brad’s playing – I knew he was playing the tune “Wonderwall”.  I had never ever heard this tune in a jazz context before, and the last time I heard it was probably in high school.  Furthermore all of the harmonies had been thoroughly changed.  But I knew, without a doubt that he was improvising on the tune Wonderwall.  And when his solo ended and he came back in on the bridge I just smiled, shook my head and chuckled to myself.

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