Pianist and composer Brad Mehldau has played an integral role in a number of historic SFJAZZ concerts.
The 37-year old Connecticut native made his Bay Area solo piano debut at a Yerba Buena Center Theater for the Arts performance during the 1999 San Francisco Jazz Festival. A year later, he participated in the first group concert of the inaugural Spring Season, a tribute to Wayne Shorter (honoree of this season’s “Shorter Project”). And in the 2007 Spring Season, he played a historic reunion of the classic Joshua Redman Quartet with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade.
Mehldau is still best known for his acclaimed trio. The group began in 1994 with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy. Santa Cruz County resident Jeff Ballard replaced Rossy in 2005, and the trio has continued to spread its considerable influence, as on its recent Nonesuch album Day is Done. The three musicians dazzle with unique and constantly shifting time signatures, Mehldau’s elegant contrapuntal lines, and profound interpretations of classic pop and modern alternative songs—as well as standards.
In 2006, jazz journalist and former longtime Bay Area resident Dan Ouellette wrote a cover story for DownBeat positing whether Mehldau was the most influential musician of his generation. His vote was yes, an opinion seconded by many in the jazz community including The New York Times, which called Mehldau “one of the standout jazz voices of his generation.”
Official Website: http://www.sfjazz.org/concerts/2008/spring/artists/mehldau.asp
Added by Wetzel on May 4, 2008