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Elegiac Cycles
from Warner Bros / Wea

Elegiac Cycles

Brad Mehldau is a pianist with a reputation for Bill Evans-style quietude. On Elegiac Cycle, Mehldau's first solo piano outing, that tendency toward melancholy meets up with his rather obvious classical influences (Brahms, Chopin, Satie) for a round of nine haunting and radiant originals. Mehldau's touch has always been light and deft, and those qualities are brought to the front on these gently searching, often mournful compositions. Aside from simply being a piece of gorgeous piano music--which it certainly is--this album offers more. The wonder occurs when Mehldau gracefully introduces brief, glimmering bits of the other side of his persona--a rambunctious improvisational glee. In this context, that spark buoys these tunes and allows light to shine upon them. Rather than facing a set of dark, brooding compositions, Mehldau inserts that indefinable spirit known as jazz into the soul of these melodies, transforming the sullen into the warmly comforting and recasting the sadness of these elegies as tributes to the spirit. A wonderfully moving and human effort.

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