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Nonesuch Records label-mates Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau play as a duet, with repertoire including classical transcriptions, pop covers, and original songs. Longtime admirers of each other’s work, mandolinist and singer Thile and pianist Mehldau first performed together in September 2011 as part of Mehldau’s residency at London’s Wigmore Hall before going on a brief tour in 2013.
One of the most lyrical and intimate voices of contemporary jazz piano, Brad Mehldau has forged a unique path, which embodies the essence of jazz exploration, classical romanticism, and pop allure. From critical acclaim as a bandleader and solo artist to major international exposure in collaborations with Pat Metheny, Anne Sofie von Otter, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Renee Fleming, Britten Sinfonia, and Joshua Redman, Mehldau continues to garner numerous awards and admiration from both jazz purists and music enthusiasts alike. His forays into melding musical idioms, in his trio (with Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums) and solo settings, has seen brilliant re-workings of songs by contemporary songwriters like The Beatles, Cole Porter, Radiohead, George and Ira Gershwin, and Nick Drake, alongside the ever evolving breadth of his own significant catalogue of original compositions. With his affection for popular music and classical training, Mehldau has become “universally admired as one of the most adventurous pianists to arrive on the jazz scene in years (Los Angeles Times).” In the last few years alone, Mehldau’s Nonesuch releases have showcased the facets of his fruitful, ever-evolving career as it enters its second decade: his ambitious orchestral record with producer Jon Brion (Highway Rider); his live solo performances (Live in Marciac); his collaborations with genre-crossing musicians (Modern Music, with composer/pianist Kevin Hays and composer/arranger Patrick Zimmerli); his trio work with his longstanding acclaimed trio (the Grammy-Nominated Ode and the acclaimed Where Do You Start—both released in the same year), and most recently a turn into electric territories in a duo with the prodigious drummer Mark Guiliana (Mehliana: Taming the Dragon).
Thile, a recent MacArthur fellow, is the founding member and lead vocalist of Punch Brothers, which has four records on Nonesuch, and the popular trio Nickel Creek, which recently reunited to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a tour and the well-received Nonesuch album A Dotted Line. With broad influences including progressive bluegrass, classical, rock, and jazz, Thile transcends the borders of conventionally circumscribed genres, creating a distinctly American canon and a new musical aesthetic.