Brad Mehldau Trio, Ode (Nonesuch)
Mehldau has recorded lately as solo pianist, in duets with classical mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie Van Otter and with a large orchestra. Bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard join him in a stimulating return to trio playing. They are attuned to the pianist as if by ESP. He describes the title tune as “an ode to odes” and dedicates other pieces to figures in his personal and musical lives. Among those who inspired them are Michael Brecker, Kurt Rosenwinkel, the Jack Nicholson character George Hanson and Aquaman, but you needn’t know that to be moved by the virtuosity and joy of this music.