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‘Brad Mehldau is more creative, but Keith [Jarrett] is looser in some way,’ was Lee Konitz’s interesting judgment, which I often recall when listening to these great pianists. This is the first duo album by longtime collaborators Mehldau and Redman, recorded live during their recent European tour. Mehldau first became known as a member of Redman’s quartet in the 1990s, appearing on the classic Moodswing (1994). On Nearness, three tracks are originals, and three are standards. The finest of the latter is Monk’s ‘In Walked Bud’, dedicated to fellow bopper Bud Powell – though I’m reminded of Monk’s mastery of space, and how Mehldau could use more. It’s one of three excellent tracks that make up the album’s first half, including a delightful ‘Ornithology’, and an engaging original, ‘Always August’. The later tracks disappoint, with both originals, ‘Melancholy Mode' and ‘Old West’, becoming rather relentless.

ANDY HAMILTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2017 - ©Rhinegold Publishing