Brad Mehldau Trio
Jazz pianist BRAD MEHLDAU has recorded and performed extensively since the early 1990s. Mehldau’s most consistent output over the years has taken place in the trio format. Starting in 1996, his group released a series of five records on Warner Bros. entitled The Art of the Trio (recently re-packaged and re-released as a box set by Nonesuch in late 2011). During that same period, Mehldau also released a solo piano recording entitled Elegiac Cycle and a record called Places that included both solo piano and trio songs. Elegiac Cycle and Places might be called “concept” albums made up exclusively of original material with central themes that hover over the compositions. Other Mehldau recordings include Largo, a collaborative effort with the innovative musician and producer Jon Brion, and Anything Goes – a trio outing with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy.
His first record for Nonesuch, Brad Mehldau Live in Tokyo, was released in September 2004. After ten rewarding years with Rossy playing in Mehldau’s regular trio, drummer Jeff Ballard joined the band in 2005. The label released its first album from the Brad Mehldau Trio — Day Is Done — in September 2005. An exciting double live trio recording entitled Brad Mehldau Trio Live was released in March 2008 (Nonesuch) to critical acclaim. In March 2010, Nonesuch released a double-disc of original work entitled Highway Rider. The album was Mehldau’s second collaboration with renowned producer Jon Brion and featured performances by Mehldau’s trio — drummer Jeff Ballard and bassist Larry Grenadier — as well as percussionist Matt Chamberlain, saxophonist Joshua Redman, and a chamber orchestra led by Dan Coleman. In 2011 Nonesuch released Live in Marciac – a two-CD release with a companion DVD of the 2006 performance – and Modern Music, a collaboration between pianists Brad Mehldau and Kevin Hays and composer/arranger Patrick Zimmerli. In 2012 Nonesuch released an album of original songs from the Brad Mehldau Trio, Ode, which went on to garner a Grammy nomination. Nonesuch released the Brad Mehldau Trio’s Where Do You Start in the fall of 2012. In 2013 Mehldau produced and performed on Walking Shadows, the acclaimed Nonesuch release from Joshua Redman. 2013 also saw a number of collaborative tours, including a duo tour with mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile, piano duets with Kevin Hays, and a new electric project with drummer Mark Guiliana entitled “Mehliana” which will have its debut release in 2014.
In addition to his trio and solo projects, Mehldau has worked with a number of great jazz musicians, including a rewarding gig with saxophonist Joshua Redman’s band for two years, recordings and concerts with Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, and Lee Konitz, and recording as a sideman with the likes of Michael Brecker, Wayne Shorter, John Scofield, and Charles Lloyd. Mehldau also has played on a number of recordings outside of the jazz idiom, like Willie Nelson’s Teatro and singer-songwriter Joe Henry’s Scar. His music has appeared in several movies, including Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut and Wim Wenders’ Million Dollar Hotel. He also composed an original soundtrack for the French film, Ma femme est une actrice. Mehldau composed two new works commissioned by Carnegie Hall for voice and piano, The Blue Estuaries and The Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, which were performed in the spring of 2005 with the acclaimed classical soprano, Renée Fleming. These songs were recorded with Fleming and released in 2006 on the Love Sublime record; simultaneously, Nonesuch released an album of Mehldau’s jazz compositions for trio entitled House on Hill. A 2008 Carnegie Hall commission for a cycle of seven love songs for Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter premiered in 2010. Love Songs, a double album that paired the newly commissioned song cycle with a selection of French, American, English, and Swedish songs that Mehldau and von Otter performed together, was released in late 2010 (on the Naïve label) to unanimous praise.
Larry Grenadier (bass) attended Stanford University, where he received a B.A. degree in English Literature. After moving to the East Coast, he played in the Gary Burton Band, touring the U.S. and Europe. He moved to New York City and played with Joe Henderson, Betty Carter, Pat Metheny, and the John Scofield Group. For the past year when not touring and recording with Brad Mehldau Trio he tours and records with the Pat Metheny Trio.
Jeff Ballard (drums, percussion) grew up in Santa Cruz, California. He toured with Ray Charles from 1988 to 1990, and moved to New York in 1990. Since then, he has played and recorded with Lou Donaldson, Danilo Pérez, Chick Corea, and Joshua Redman, to name a few. In addition to being a member of the Brad Melhdau Trio, he is currently a co-leader of the collective group FLY (featuring Mark Turner, Larry Grenadier, and himself), and Joshua Redman’s Elastic Band.