Brad Mehldau – Your Mother Should Know Brad Mehldau Plays the Beatles.
This is the recording of a concert given by Brad Mehldau at the Philarmonie de Paris in 2020.
A concert entirely devoted to the music of the Beatles except for the encore, a classic from David Bowie’s early days. Mehldau explains himself extensively in the liner notes of the CD about his choices. I quote: “Of course, there is an undeniable universality to the Beatles, which is reflected in classics like “Yesterday” and “Hey Jude. Their music transcends cultural and generational boundaries as new listeners continue to discover it. There is an immediacy and integrity to their songs that appeals to everyone.”
But Brad Mehldau is far from everyone, and that’s obvious from the outset in his choice of repertoire, which includes no Beatles hits. Indeed what strikes him also in this music is its strangeness and it is it that he chose to put forward.
Mehldau says he didn’t discover the Beatles’ music until fairly late in his youth, but it was a no-brainer for him because the pop bands he’d listened to before were influenced by the Fab Four. This music also seemed to him particularly well adapted to the piano in its construction. And in fact, throughout this recital, the piano sounds magnificently on the melodies, harmonies and rhythms of the themes that Mehldau has chosen to interpret.
He imposes his own touch on them, whether it be the sumptuous touch that we know him for or the way he harmonizes or modifies the rhythm of these songs to make them jazz standards. It is thus a very well thought out re-reading that Mehldau offers us. He has frequently played Beatles themes but he is playing those of this concert for the first time.
Another aspect of Mehldau‘s choices is that the themes he has chosen lend themselves wonderfully to improvisation and it is also at this level that the pianist appropriates them with a very personal approach. Beatles covers are far from being rare in jazz, but the pianist offers a majestically new vision where he shows that these themes are part of his DNA and that he can immerse himself in this universe while remaining himself.
Line up :
Brad Mehldau : piano
Your Mother Should Know – Brad Mehldau Plays the Beatles is an album produced by the label Nonesuch Records
©Photo Elena Olivo