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096: Bill Evans (solo), ‘Easy To Love’

After bassist Scott LaFaro died, Bill Evans gave up music and focused on his voracious heroin habit. It was a bleak time. Six months later, Evans made an aborted attempt to record a solo album, a eulogy to LaFaro. The resulting four cuts are uneven, unfinished, unpolished. But they are a man’s soul speaking directly, without mediation, without technical obstacles: Evans, his pain, and the music: “I have always preferred playing without an audience.”

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094: Brad Mehldau, ‘Martha, My Dear’ (“Live in Marciac”)

Brad Mehldau is young (big tattoo on his forearm), eclectic, handsome and shy and spiritual and articulate and spooky intelligent. Oh, yeah, and he plays with two different hands. I mean, they’re independent of each other, connected by chance to one torso. His left hand alone can play what most fine jazz pianists can do with both. Leaving his right hand to explore another alternative tonal world. So all you ‘I really don’t like too much jazz’ folks out there, do yourselves a favor – give Brad Mehldau a listen, anything at all – standards, Beatles, Radiohead, originals.

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259: Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau: ‘Marcie’ (Joni Mitchell), ‘Don’t Think Twice’ (Dylan)

You don’t need Thile and Mehldau to justify the standing of Dylan or Mitchell. But their fresh new readings may still amplify and even enhance the originals.

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225: Brad Mehldau, ‘The Falcon Will Fly Again’/Luis Bonfa, ‘Manha de Carnaval’

A great contemporary artist inspired by an iconic original. Lilting, uplifting, in π/4.

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