Finally, on this Thursday morning spot, some Brad Mehldau. Mehldau is perhaps the musician most responsible for the recent vogue of adopting pop songs and transforming them into a jazz idiom. I could do several months’ worth of posts just with him. He’s covered everything from Oasis and Paul Simon to Radiohead, Nick Drake, and Soundgarden. And he does it all with his characteristic intelligence, sometimes turning tunes so inside out that it can be difficult to recognize what you’re listening to apart from the odd glimmering phrase of melody here or there, which can be like a delicious glimpse of the sun on a cloudy day.
Anyway, here’s a cover from a lesser-known British popular beat combo from Liverpool. On this occasion Mehldau plunges into the melody and just wallows around in it. He’s lyrical, complex, and compelling. What I love about this performance is that, while remaining pretty faithful to the tune, he manages to shed a whole new light on music that I thought I knew pretty well. And that, in a way, is what this is all about. Utterly joyful. This track is from his 2005 album, Day is Done. The album also contains “She’s Leaving Home” and a wonderfully elliptical reading of “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover”, and is highly recommended.