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Don't Explain by Joel Frahm with Brad Mehldau

On Palmetto Records is a recent release called DON’T EXPLAIN, featuring Joel Frahm on tenor and Brad Mehldau on piano. The duo encapsulated their longtime friendship in this recording. Their working camaraderie speaks well of their extra-musical relationship.

True clarity and a character of instrumental distinction blossoms from the performance of each of the two players. It is obvious that Frahm carries the recording. Mehldau respectfully retires to the background for Frahm. Frahm’s playing is melodious, lingering and comes forth with a slight retard which invites repeated listening. He is so in touch with methods of accentuating that he ropes the listener right into the groove and appropriate mood. His internal rhythm offers that much more grooviness to the tunes. The first of two ROUND MIDNIGHT tracks is extraordinary and speaks to Frahm’s spry rhythmic nature. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the second take of the same describes exactly the stretched moments of how the time around midnight might feel for a musician who has been playing for hours. Coleman’s TURNAROUND sparkles. And Frahm’s own composition AWAY FROM HOME clutches all the yearning that the title indicates.

Mehldau begins two or three of the tracks in his own inimitable, unmistakable way....and takes solos, one outstanding occurs in GET HAPPY when he launches into an almost concerto-esque attack on the keyboard. Mehldau’s accompaniment of Frahm is predominantly chordal even though when he bridges between sax exit and sax entrance, the notes flow with fluidity and Mehldau constancy. Mehldau places his accompaniment carefully and purposely, it seems, a little offbeat, yet intertwined with the continuous range discovery of Frahm’s tenor.

It is good to hear these two musicians together. I am glad that they are friends.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Joel Frahm with Brad Mehldau
  • CD Title: Don't Explain
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Palmetto Records
  • Rating: Five Stars
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