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Brad Mehldau Biography

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Brad Mehldau (born August 23, 1970) is an American jazz pianist.

Mehldau was born in Florida in 1970, grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut and graduated from Hall High School in 1988. He played piano from an early age, and discovered jazz at the age of twelve, when a friend played him a live recording of John Coltrane. Keith Jarrett's solo album Solo Concerts (Bremen/Lausanne) was another early influence, as were Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker [1]. He went on to play in his high school's jazz band. The first jazz record he purchased was Coltrane's Blue Train[2].

Mehldau moved to New York in 1988 to study jazz at The New School, studying under Fred Hersch, Junior Mance and Kenny Werner, and also playing with Jackie McLean and Jimmy Cobb [3].

He went on to play as sideman with a variety of musicians, most importantly with the Joshua Redman quartet, before forming his own trio in 1994.

Mehldau plays original compositions, jazz standards and jazz arrangements of popular music, having a particular liking for the music of Radiohead, Nick Drake and The Beatles. Mehldau has a distinct talent for transforming these 'Rock' songs in such a way that they sound as if they were Jazz Standards in the first place. He is best known as leader of the Brad Mehldau Trio, with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummers Jorge Rossy and Jeff Ballard (who succeeded Rossy in 2005).

He has also played and recorded solo and with co-leaders Peter Bernstein, Mark Turner, Charlie Haden, and others. In 2004, Mehldau toured with Kurt Rosenwinkel and Joshua Redman.

Mehldau is sometimes compared with Bill Evans but dislikes the comparison, explaining why in the liner notes of The Art of the Trio IV. Also compared to Keith Jarrett, he describes Jarrett's solo work as more inspiration than influence. Other influences cited by him are Miles Davis, Larry Goldings, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jesse Davis, David Sanchez, and the other members of his own trio [4]. His classical training shows, and he often plays a separate melody with each hand in unusual rhythmic meters such as 5/4 and 7/4.
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