Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra premieres Mehldau’s “Highway Rider”

Posted on: November 5, 2010

In Sunday’s (10/31) Star-Tribune (Minneapolis), Graydon Royce writes, “Symphonic jazz? Jazz classical? Jazz/pop/minimalism? Pianist Brad Mehldau has built a career on mixing musical styles and influences into something celebrated as distinctly original. He has put that aesthetic to particular work in his newest album ‘Highway Rider,’ a piece that flexes Mehldau’s composing muscles as much as it does his jazz piano acumen. A familiar presence to Twin Cities music aficionados, Mehldau gives the album its live premiere this week with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and his own quintet, featuring tenor saxophone star Joshua Redman. The performances at Walker Art Center are in advance of a New York debut Nov. 9. … Philip Bither, the Walker’s performing arts curator, feels that the challenge—the adrenaline rush for the musicians—will come from the performance itself rather than the complexity of the score. ‘The interesting thing will be for the SPCO to be right up against these jazz players, how to stay focused when there is wild improvisation going over the top,’ Bither said. … This collaboration has several genesis points. Mehldau is in a season-long composing residency at Carnegie Hall.”

Posted November 5, 2010