Brad Mehldau Trio Performs at Wassermann Festival

LOGAN — The fourth and final performer in this semester’s Wassermann Festival is the Brad Mehldau Trio Tuesday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m., in the Daines Concert Hall in the Chase Fine Arts Center on the Utah State University campus.

Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau has recorded and performed extensively since the early 1990s. Mehldau’s musical personality forms a dichotomy. He is first and foremost an improviser and greatly cherishes the surprise and wonder that can occur from a spontaneous musical idea that is expressed directly, in real time. He also has a deep fascination for the formal architecture of music, and it informs everything he plays. As he plays, he listens to how ideas unwind, and the order in which they reveal themselves. Each tune has a strong narrative arch, whether it expresses itself in a beginning, an end, or something left intentionally open-ended. The two sides of Mehldau’s personality—the improviser and formalist—play off each other and the effect is often something like controlled chaos.

Mehldau’s most consistent output over the years has taken place in trio format. Starting in 1996, his group released a series of five records on Warner Bros. entitled The Art of the Trio. The first record featured the original trio configuration of Mehldau on piano, Larry Grenadier on bass and Jorge Rossy on drums. In 2005, Jeff Ballard replaced Rossy in the drum chair. The trio’s most recent release is the two-disc album Live, recorded at New York’s famed Village Vanguard over the course of a week’s residency.

“Brad Mehldau has been the leading voice for modern jazz piano for many years now,” Corey Christiansen, head of the guitar program at USU, said. “His work transcends genre in many ways and his works and arrangements have drawn on modern popular music—including works by Radiohead for example—in a way that not only pays tribute to modern classics but develops the music and takes it to a new level.”

Tickets for the concert are $24 for adults, $20 for USU faculty and staff and $10 for students ages 8 and older. Tickets are available through the Caine College of the Arts Box Office located in room L101 in the Chase Fine Arts center or online via a link on the Wassermann website (

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