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#1201199 - 05/17/09 10:56 PM Pianist Brad Mehldau's Improvisational Concepts
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
Around 1995, someone told me about a new jazz pianist arriving on the scene and told me to check out his first CD as a leader, Introducing Brad Mehldau. I got the CD, started listening to it and realized as I listened to his arrangements of My Romance, Countdown, there was a new direction in style, modern concepts of improvisation, harmonic sophistication, a bit of funk and a sensitivity to his interpretation of ballads.

Brad is well known now in the jazz world and he has made his mark with a lot of hard work, study, recording and touring. He has a fresh approach to his improvisations, energetic bursts of complex phrases, delivered perfectly with his technique.

His playing is almost totally unpredictable, meaning, he hasn't concentrated in setting up a batch of bebop/pentatonic licks that many players apply to there playing, and that's ok. But Brad seems to start his journey with no compass and let's the destination come forth as he starts the motion of his approach.

He is a very inspiring player to help me get motivated when I feel stuck in a tune and needs some kicks to get my path going into unknown directions. I started learning Coltrane's Countdown and My Romance, an up, fast tune and a ballad. I am slowing down 4-8 bars at a time with Quicktime Pro to figure out what he is doing. I hear influences of Keith Jarrett very much a part of his style and some Bill Evans touch.

But I am trying to figure out some exercises in the Mehldau groove that I could work on, to apply to my own playing, but not sure what to do. If there are any Brad Mehldau fans here, and I'm sure there must be some, does anyone here have some ideas on how to approach his improvisation concepts? Ready to hear what others think about it
Thanks katt

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1201284 - 05/18/09 02:24 AM Re: Pianist Brad Mehldau's Improvisational Concepts [Re: nitekatt2008z]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
katt,

Since you have studied him since 1995 how about offering up some tips/exercises into his concepts?

J+

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#1201304 - 05/18/09 05:25 AM Re: Pianist Brad Mehldau's Improvisational Concepts [Re: Jazz+]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I've transcribed a whole bunch of brad's solos and I've realized that a lot of his ideas are still rooted in bebop. It's more about how he uses them, rather than coming up with completely new vocabulary. For me it was very helpful to transcribe his stuff as a sideman with chris potter, joshua redman.. etc He plays less "out", and you can hear how his ideas evolved as he progressed in his career.

I'd be happy to send you copy of my transcriptions, and maybe we can have a more thorough discussion about Brad and other people's styles.

I am noticing a lot of Brad's strength is in his rhythmic complexity.. like over the barline playing, taking a phrase and displacing them, and polyrhythms. He likes to accent every 4th triplet, and giving you the impression that he is playing a different time.. what's impressive is that he can come in on any part of the triplet and start the line, which further obscures where 1 is.




Edited by etcetra (05/18/09 05:26 AM)

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#1201664 - 05/18/09 06:26 PM Re: Pianist Brad Mehldau's Improvisational Concept [Re: Jazz+]
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
Hey jazz. No, I really haven't consistently been up on Brad Mehldau's career until just this week when I found his CD and started listening to it and really got inspired by his concepts of standards interpretations and improvisational techniques. I'm just getting into it myself and don't have anything yet as far as some study method to what he is doing. The only thing I have done is slow down some of his phrases bar by bar and then try to analyze what's happening. If you have anything to offer, let us know here on the forum

katt

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#1201675 - 05/18/09 06:45 PM Re: Pianist Brad Mehldau's Improvisational Concepts [Re: etcetra]
BJones Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
Originally Posted By: etcetra
He likes to accent every 4th triplet, and giving you the impression that he is playing a different time..



Which Tristano had been doing for 40 years before Mehldau. All of Mehldau's improvisational devices can be found in the solos of Lennie Tristano, Warne Marsh, and Lee Konitz, 30 to 40 year prior to Mehldau.
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


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#1201715 - 05/18/09 07:49 PM Re: Pianist Brad Mehldau's Improvisational Concepts [Re: BJones]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21396
Loc: Oakland
Quote:
Which Tristano had been doing for 40 years before Mehldau. All of Mehldau's improvisational devices can be found in the solos of Lennie Tristano, Warne Marsh, and Lee Konitz, 30 to 40 year prior to Mehldau.

And if you go back another 30 or 40 years, you will find the artists that Tristano and the others learned those devices from.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1201762 - 05/18/09 08:59 PM Re: Pianist Brad Mehldau's Improvisational Concepts [Re: BDB]
BJones Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
Originally Posted By: BDB
Quote:
Which Tristano had been doing for 40 years before Mehldau. All of Mehldau's improvisational devices can be found in the solos of Lennie Tristano, Warne Marsh, and Lee Konitz, 30 to 40 year prior to Mehldau.

And if you go back another 30 or 40 years, you will find the artists that Tristano and the others learned those devices from.


Edited for personal attack.


Edited by Phlebas (05/18/09 10:47 PM)
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


Top
#1201785 - 05/18/09 09:38 PM Re: Pianist Brad Mehldau's Improvisational Concepts [Re: BDB]
BJones Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
Originally Posted By: BDB
Quote:
Which Tristano had been doing for 40 years before Mehldau. All of Mehldau's improvisational devices can be found in the solos of Lennie Tristano, Warne Marsh, and Lee Konitz, 30 to 40 year prior to Mehldau.

And if you go back another 30 or 40 years, you will find the artists that Tristano and the others learned those devices from.


If you really knew anything about Tristano and his music, you'd realize that most of Lennie's devices are of 20th century neo-classical origins, but sadly, you haven't transcribed, played, and analyzed every Lennie recording that's been in print for the past 71 years like my teacher and I have.

Personal comments edited out.


Edited by Phlebas (05/18/09 10:50 PM)
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


Top
#1201787 - 05/18/09 09:44 PM Re: Pianist Brad Mehldau's Improvisational Concepts [Re: BDB]
BJones Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
Originally Posted By: BDB
Quote:
Which Tristano had been doing for 40 years before Mehldau. All of Mehldau's improvisational devices can be found in the solos of Lennie Tristano, Warne Marsh, and Lee Konitz, 30 to 40 year prior to Mehldau.

And if you go back another 30 or 40 years, you will find the artists that Tristano and the others learned those devices from.


Really? Who are the pianists and musicians that you feel influenced Lennie? Name them! I'm sure that you had many personal, long talks with Lennie about music and what influenced him like my teacher did in his 10+ years of study with Lennie.

I'm curious if your list of the pianists who influenced Lennie match V1s, who studied directly with Lennie and knows the exact answers to question like that, right from lennie's own mouth.

Go ahead. Name Lennie's influences. Go get your hat to talk through and let's see how close you can get.


Edited by BJones (05/18/09 09:47 PM)
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


Top
#1201820 - 05/18/09 10:53 PM Re: Pianist Brad Mehldau's Improvisational Concepts [Re: BJones]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Topic closed.

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