Brad Mehldau Trio: Blues and Ballads – A Review

Brad Mehldau

I have an ambiguous relationship to Brad Mehldau’s music. On the one hand, I’ve featured him both in my 25 Essential Jazz albums, and My Top 10 Jazz Covers of Pop Songs, which means there is stuff he’s done I really love and would rate 5 star.

I also liked his recent 10 Years Solo Live album which I have yet to review, and had a ticket for one of his recent solo concerts (which unfortunately I couldn’t attend as a gastric flu had knocked me out).

On the other hand, there are albums I just loathe, and give them a solid two stars (really not my cup of tea), e.g. Largo.

Nevertheless, I’ve been following him quite closely, you just never know what you get next.

Blues and Ballads (Nonesuch 2016)

So obviously, the moment the new trio album came out (just some days ago), I started streaming it.

So, are we in two or five star territory here?

Brad Mehldau Trio Blues and Ballads 24 88 Nonesuch 2016

Actually, neither nor.

My first impression here is “quite nice”. And not in the indirect sense that the word nice these days is quite regularly used, I actually kind of like it.

There are some beautiful ballads, several of them 9 or 10 minutes long (something I  often appreciate, as it gives the music more time to develop).

Some of my favorite tracks are the two last ones on the album And I Love Her, and My Valentine. These two alone, for my particular taste, make the album worth checking out.

On the other hand, when we go to the first part of the album title, the Blues part, I’m less convinced. There are tracks I personally could easily live without, e.g. Cheryl, where to my ears the trio tries to sound like Monk but doesn’t really succeed.

Another really enjoyable track is the Jon Brion cover Little Person, confirming again that Mehldau plays an important role in bringing the contemporary Pop repertoire into Jazz.  


So overall, a slightly mixed bag, but I still like the good tracks of the album enough to recommend the entire thing. Will I buy this (which I do for my personal favorites and to support the artist) or stick to streaming? Time will tell, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up clicking on the buy button eventually.

In any case, give it a try!

My rating: 4 stars (this is one more of the cases where I was hesitating to give 3.5 stars, but I don’t want to stray away from my own rating scale, and the good songs on this album are really worth it).

You can find it here (Qobuz) and here (Nonesuch’s own online store)

Author: Musicophile

I'm not a professional musician, I don't work in the music industry, I'm just what the name says, somebody who loves music. I've been in love with music for all of my life, took piano lessons for nearly 10 years, and played in several amateur Jazz groups. I go to concerts, both classical and Jazz, quite regularly. And I collect music previously on vinyl and CDs, now on my computer, and am slightly OCD on my music collection. You can reach me at Musicophile1(AT)

4 thoughts on “Brad Mehldau Trio: Blues and Ballads – A Review”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this review. I also make a similar choice between “just gonna stream it” or purchase and support the artist directly. As I have said, great blog and thanks so much for broadening my musical horizon.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

classical life

A classical music blog by music critic Tim Mangan

This Week's Music

Making Classical Accessible

From my Macbook to the Net

Evaporation of my thoughts and observations


Author: Artienne

My Life in Music

Playing, Singing and Listening


A brand new journal reviewing books, cinema, music

LawrenceEz's Blog

Creative and Performing Arts: Writing, Classical Music, Photography

Laetitia Strauch-Bonart

Contemporary Politics & Culture

sibling revelry

reveling in all things classical

It's A Raggy Waltz

I collect jazz on vinyl, I dig the Dave Brubeck Quartet, & I write about it

La Musica

By two cousins


Dishing it out from the heart of England

only jazz

random thoughts about music that matters to me

Le Corso del Destino

a journey in classical music

The Culture Project

Exploring the world of literature, wine, art, music and more.

René Spencer Saller

The music causes me to dream of fabulous empires, filled with fabulous sins.

The High Arts Review

Βιβλία, ταινίες, μουσική

Breaking Baroque

Blog of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir

Tasting Nirvana

Eating your Dosha

The Immortal Jukebox

A Blog about Music and Popular Culture

April Greene

Writer + Editor

a pianist's musings

A history of your favorite classical music.

Classical music for all

Boris Giltburg's blog

%d bloggers like this: