Grammy nominee Brad Mehldau to perform at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts


Image: Brad Mehldau

Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, a genre-defying musician and composer of enormous passion, will perform an evening of original works on Saturday, April 24, at 8 p.m. at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

Known for surprising critics with his own innovation, Mehldau often confounds those who would categorize him, playing works of Beethoven and Radiohead with the same stunning virtuosity. In concert and on his award-winning recordings, critics have praised Mehldau's ability to move "between yearning melancholy and rapturous ecstasy," carrying his listeners through a world of musical possibility.

Brad Mehldau is "universally admired as one of the most adventurous pianists to arrive on the jazz scene in years," raved The Los Angeles Times.

Like many of his contemporaries, Mehldau began his career with a heavy dose of classical training, studying piano until he was 14. As a teen, he tried rock and jazz, moving to New York in 1988 to become a respected sideman for a variety of musicians. During this time, he honed his own style, one he says was influenced by bandleaders with whom he worked, including Mark Turner, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Perico Sambeat.

Mehldau first met with international attention as a member of the Joshua Redman Quartet, a group that toured the United States and Europe and recorded "MoodSwing" with Mehldau.

In 1995, Mehldau released "Introducing Brad Mehldau," a solo album featuring bold elliptical lines, volatile rhythms and unexpected bursts of color and dissonance that showed a clever playfulness that sat well with critics and audiences.

"The originality of these compositions is startling to behold," wrote one Chicago Tribune reviewer.

Mehldau spent the next few years touring and working on "The Art of the Trio, Volume One," "Live at the Village Vanguard: The Art of the Trio, Volume Two," and "Songs: The Art of the Trio, Volume Three," which included his interpretation of Nick Drake's "River Man" and Radiohead's "Exit Music (for a Film)." By the time he released the Grammy-nominated "Back at the Vangaurd: The Art of the Trio, Volume Four," he had been recognized for Best Jazz Album of the Year by France's Jazzman Magazine and as Best New Talent by Musica Jazz Critics Poll of Italy and Debut Artist of the Year by New York Jazz Awards among many other honors. United Press International listed his as one of the Top 10 Albums of 1997 and he has been voted Jazz Pianist of the Year for 1999 and 2000 in the influential Down Beat Magazine annual readers' poll.

His album "Elegiac Circle" was one of Time Magazine's Top 10 Albums of 1999 and Rolling Stone highlighted his "Largo" as a must-have album.

Mehldau continues to thrill live audiences and filmgoers, who may recognize his works from the soundtracks to "Eyes Wide Shut," "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and "Space Cowboys." His pieces are featured in two recent French films, "Ma Femme et une Actrice" and "Un Ange en Danger," as well as a French documentary, "Jazz Collection: Brad Mehldau."

In recent interviews, Mehldau said he enjoys exploring melody, a facet of composing not always emphasized by the modern jazz world.

"It shouldn't be that the only people who care about melody are pop singers," he told The Philadelphia Enquirer. "For me, it doesn't matter whether we're playing an old chestnut or some kind of pop tune. Once you have a thread of a melody, the music can open up in all kinds of ways. It can be different every night."

Tickets are $30. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 25, 2004

Vol. 36, No. 238