Grammy Award winning 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.
Mehldau’s musical personality forms a dichotomy. He is first and foremost an improviser, and greatly cherishes the surprise and wonder that can occur from a spontaneous musical idea that is expressed directly, in real time. But he also has a deep fascination for the formal architecture of music, and it informs everything he plays. The two sides of Mehldau’s personality—the improviser and the formalist—play off each other, and the effect is often something like controlled chaos.
Mehldau has performed around the world at a steady pace since the mid-1990s, with his trio and as a solo pianist. His performances convey a wide range of expression. There is often an intellectual rigor to the continuous process of abstraction that may take place on a given tune, and a certain density of information. That could be followed by a stripped down, emotionally direct ballad. Mehldau favors juxtaposing extremes. He has attracted a sizeable following over the years, one that has grown to expect a singular, intense experience in his performance.
Larry Grenadier (Bass)
As one of the most admired, accomplished bassists working in jazz today, Larry Grenadier has been praised as “a deeply intuitive” musician by The New York Times and as an instrumentalist with a “fluid sense of melody” by Bass Player Magazine. Grenadier has created an expansive body of work in collaboration with many of the genre’s most inventive, influential musicians – from early days playing with sax icons Joe Henderson and Stan Getz to what has been decades performing alongside pianist Brad Mehldau.
Jeff Ballard (Drums, Percussion)
At the age of 25, Ballard began an educational journey no college could match. He went on the road for eight months annually from 1988 to 1990 with Ray Charles, backing one of music’s biggest stars. In 1990, Ballard moved to New York and jumped into the transformative scene that was developing there at the time. He began collaborating with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Brad Mehldau, Mark Turner, Joshua Redman, and Ben Allison, among others who were mixing jazz tradition with their own influences, ranging from Middle Eastern rhythms to electronica and modern hip hop. His present work continues with the Brad Mehldau Trio, as co-leader of collective group FLY (featuring Mark Turner, Ballard, and Larry Grenadier) and with his own groups The Jeff Ballard Trio and Jeff Ballard Fairgrounds.