COMPOSERS: Brad Mehldau,Chris Thile
ALBUM TITLE: Chris Thile * Brad Mehldau
WORKS: Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau
PERFORMER: Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau
CATALOGUE NO: 0075597940992
Brad Mehldau has been on some surprising adventures outside jazz, in both the classical and rock worlds. But his partnership with bluegrass mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile (who recently took over from Garrison Keillor as host of US radio show)
A Prairie Home Companion takes the biscuit. It really shouldn’t work, because Thile’s mandolin is so choppy and dangerous compared to Mehldau’s more poised playing. But the vivid dynamic really puts a bright face on this mix of originals and old song covers from across the jazz, folk and country spectrum.
An added attraction is Thile’s high and natural vocal style, something approaching Chet Baker on the standard ‘I Cover The Waterfront’ and more like psychedelic rocker Beck on the cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Marcie’. Mehldau is at home amid the Americana, always listening to Thile, but sometimes letting his
lines float free of his partner. Perhaps they’ve spawned a new genre: country bopgrass anyone?