Brad Mehldau: Still Crazy After All These Years
Still Crazy After All These Years
Brad Mehldau (piano)
Anything Goes (Warner Bros. 48608)
Composed by Paul Simon.
Recorded: New York, October 8 and 9, 2002
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
Mehldau again shakes up the jazz police by sneaking some Paul Simon lead sheets into the nightclub. A quick check of Tom Lord's massive The Jazz Discography finds only two cover versions of Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" listed in its 23,000 virtual pages -- one of them is Mehldau's. Here the pianist turns his attention to the almost equally unlikely jam tune "Still Crazy After All These Years." But Simon crafted a lovely pop-rock waltz and it works in a jazz setting. Mehldau brings out the beauty of the melody and plays with great delicacy. But no Mehldau cover version is without its little surprises. When he gets to the end of the bridge, he lingers . . . and lingers and lingers. If this were a real bridge, say the Golden Gate, the suicide prevention squad would be out in full force by now. Brad grinds out a vamp that sets the poor old bridge swingin' and shakin'. But everything turns out okay, and Mehldau comes back to the main theme in all its glory. He will not be convicted by a jury of his peers, but this musician is still playing crazy after all these years.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia
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