Nonesuch releases an album of original songs from the Brad Mehldau Trio Ode on March 13. The record, which is the first from the trio since 2008’s live Village Vanguard disc and the first studio trio recording since 2005’s Day Is Done, features 11 previously unreleased songs composed by Mehldau. Many of the songs on the new album were written as tributes, or “odes,” to real and fictional people.
“Ode is a collection of originals that I wrote specifically for my trio with Larry and Jeff,” says Mehldau. “I feel that what they bring to the music in the performance here is inseparable from the tunes themselves.” Most of the songs, he explains, “are tributes to someone else, and I began to think of them as odes, or poems that might be sung; in our case here it’s the singing only without all those pesky words.” Subjects include the late saxophonist Michael Brecker (“M.B.”), a character from the film Easy Rider (“Eulogy for George Hanson”), and the guitarist Kurt Ronsenwinkel (“Kurt Vibe”).
Mehldau moved to New York City in 1988, studying at the New School and playing in a number of different combos—including a stint in Redman’s quartet—before becoming a bandleader himself. His trio, which tours the world extensively, made eight acclaimed recordings for Warner Bros., including the five widely praised Art of the Trio albums with former drummer Jorge Rossy, which Nonesuch released as a boxed set in December 2011.
Brad Mehldau Trio performed at 11th Jazz Fest Sarajevo 2008.