September 24, 2018. Jazz pianist, composer, and arranger Brad Mehldau is a known innovator. His ability to think outside-of-the-box while remaining true to jazz makes every release of his a pleasant surprise. Seymour Reads the Constitution! is no different.
Speaking of outside-of-the-box, the title comes from a dream Mehldau had back in 2014, in which actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was stoically reading the U.S. Constitution to him, and the recitation was set to music. Mehldau awoke, and immediately wrote down the melody for later use. The track from which the title comes is a somber waltz, expertly led by drummer Jeff Ballard, and accompanied by bassist Larry Grenadier.
The longtime trio takes us for a bit of a ride on this record, from melancholy to abstract to bouncy. An entertaining addition is Mehldau’s interpretation of the Beach Boy’s “Friends.” It’s the epitome of jazz for a Sunday afternoon – light and airy and beautiful. Paul McCartney’s “Great Day” also gets the Mehldau treatment, with the piano and bass working in unison for a good portion of the song.
As always, Brad’s original compositions are dynamic and technical. If you are a Brad Mehldau fan, Seymour Reads the Constitution! will not disappoint. If you aren’t familiar with his work, give this one a try. It will be refreshing, just like the title.