Review by: Frank Johnson
Pat Metheny is a guitarist of many moods and styles, giving him the sound of a musical chameleon. This is fortunate for Brad Mehldau.
As the composer of seven of the ten tracks on their collaboration on Nonesuch
Records, Metheny goes to his mellow side for the bulk of the set, matching the
quiet intensity that Mehldau has displayed over the years. That's why
Metheny Mehldau sounds like another of the pianist Mehldau's
gorgeous offerings, only this time with guitar accompaniment.
There are a few moments in which the duo raises the energy level notch, but
it's the two quartet cuts that really stand out... both by obvious comparison
and on their own enthusiastic level. Drummer Jeff Ballard and long time Mehldau
bassist Larry Grenadier are added for some top-notch interplay.
Metheny's Ring of Life is the first of that pair with his characteristic
fire and speed. This brings out a forceful solo from Mehldau that is heard all
too infrequently on his own sets. Metheny Mehldau is not the equal
partnership it could have been, but perhaps a follow-up recording will tilt
on the side of the guitarist.
Johnson is the weekday afternoon host for
WGUC from 2 to 7pm.