Thursday, August 23, 2012

Brad Mehldau is 42 today

What is it with succesful jazz musicians that are so appealing for what Americans call "haters"? Whatever it is, Brad Mehldau has enjoyed some success, a lot of it in jazz terms, and some have enjoyed bad-mouthing him (and if the average jazz listener is really a white, middle-aged male, it's time to revise women's presumed superiority at bitching).

Today Mehldau is 42. Although this is sometimes forgotten in the English-speaking world, he recorded his first trio album in Barcelona for Fresh Sound New Talent in 1993, and two years later, at 25, he moved to Warner's (have things changed!) I discovered him in 1997, recommended by veteran producer and writer Ira Gitler, no less, at Jazzaldia, San Sebastián's Jazz Festival. Shortly afterwards I moved to London, and one of the first CDs I bought, in a street market was The Art of the Trio, Vol. 1. That was my last review for the local newspaper I used to write for back in Spain.

Music can be appreciated at several levels. For a music writer, there can be an understanding of the merits of a given piece, she or he can also like it as a fan, and in a few instances, it can reach deep inside of you and help keeping you sane. The piece above, "Elegy for William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg", has been a refuge through the years.

Thank you and happy birthday, Brad Mehldau.