Brad Mehldau is certainly one of the most influential pianists, and probably one of the most influential musicians on any instrument, of his generation. His solo piano and piano trio work is some of the most consistently mind-blowing stuff out there from any generation, and he’s also put together many interesting collaborations with other pianists, vocalists, guitarists, horns, strings, and electronics. In this column, I’ll look at some side-by-side comparisons of a few tunes by, or featuring, Brad Mehldau’s piano playing.
Bassist & vocalist Kenneth "Gizmo" Rodgers is getting ready to hit the road-- playing with Butcher Brown (particularly for an Art of Cool-approved gig on Sept. 7th at Raleigh's The Poor House), playing with Casey Benjamin, opening for Bilal. It's going to be some exciting times for the young musician whose dual EPs, The Middle and Red Balloon, have been garnering praise and building an impressive reputation for his very subdued jams. To give people a little something more to chew on before the tour, Gizmo has released a new free single-- "Sameness: Book of James". Check out the track from his SoundCloud after the jump.
"Little Church" aka "Igrejinha" is a song with a rather rich history. The Hermeto Pasquol composition is best known through Miles Davis' performance on 1971's Live-Evil. As part of his free track of the month series, pianist/keyboardist Marc Cary recorded the song with his Focus Trio of Taurus Mateen & Burniss Earl Travis II on bass and Sameer Gupta on drums with Igmar Thomas guesting on trumpet. You can cop the track from Cary's Bandcamp and check it out after the jump.
Stop what you're doing - Becca Stevens recently announced the fall release of her new album, Perfect Animal. Becca Stevens' Weightless is one of those rare albums that can bring you to tears. Stevens' voice is seemingly capable of anything she'd like it to do, and she has put together a band that more than does service to her songs. She works with both her original songs and great arrangements of unexpected songs (Weightless included tunes like Animal Collective's "All My Girls" and Seal's "Kiss From a Rose"), pulling up unexpected elements from the songs and making something magical. And that's the right word - her music is so good that you don't want to over-think it - it's magical. There aren't too many magical artists out there. Since releasing Weightless in 2011, Stevens has appeared on José James’ and Ambrose Akinmusire’s recent albums, and she is also part of Tillery, with Gretchen Parlato and Rebecca Martin.