Pianisti Brad Mehldaun ensimmäinen soolokonsertti Suomessa lähestyy. Flame Jazzin taiteellinen johtaja Jussi Fredriksson haastatteli mestaria odotetun Suomen vierailun alla.
JF: First of all, you are most warmly welcome to the culturally rich city of Turku. You have not performed in Finland for some time. What are your expectations for the trip to the cold north?
BM: Thanks very much Mr. Fredriksson. I’m looking much forward to the trip. I hope to see a bit of the city as well when I’m there.
JF: 10 Years Solo Live album sums up wonderfully your solo performances under recent years. How would you describe solo piano playing compared to concerts with different ensembles like your trio?
BM: It is a direct communication with the audience, thus more intimate in a way. It is less jazz in terms of the musical language, perhaps – more a fusing of all the music I love, be it classical, jazz, pop, Brazilian, etc.
JF: How do you prepare mentally for a solo piano concert? Do you decide all the compositions to be played before the concert?
BM: I usually have a list that I draw from for ideas, but do not stick to – it is more of a guide. The most fun for me is when a song pops into my head that I had never played before, or at least had never played solo or played in a long time. The best mental preparation is to empty the mind as much as possible.
JF: There are obviously lots of great artists who have influenced your playing. Which musicians and/or composers have lately made an impact on you?
BM: Lately I’ve been listening to Mozart’s later symphonies. I wasn’t ready for them when I was younger. “Prague”, and of course the monumental “Jupiter”. Mahler’s 7th, the late David Bowie’s last record “Black Star,” Queen with my kids by way of David Bowie (younger daughter wants to learn “We Are the Champions”) , Kendrick Lamar, Frank Wess (older daughter plays flute), Richard Goode Beethoven Sonatas.
JF: We would love to hear your trio too in Turku! Who plays in your trio at the moment? Is there new material coming up?
BM: I still play with Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard. Larry has been with me for 20 years, and Jeff more than 10. We should have a new record coming out in a few months, I hope.
JF: Turku is famous for great food culture and restaurants. What is your favorite kind of food?
BM: I am mostly vegan vegetarian. I like grains and vegetables, fruits. Once in a while I will eat some fish if it’s special and if it’s locally caught. Thanks again for your interest in my music, Mr. Fredriksson!
Warm Regards, Brad Mehldau