Fear and Trembling

On this disc of Mehldau originals (and the last record he’ll make with this particular trio), the pianist’s longstanding partners in crime—bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy—work their way through a solid nine-track set. There’s less flash than when Mehldau lets loose on a standard, but playing closer to the chest opens up other avenues of exploration. The three-man team resists the urge to all pile on too heavily at once, and so whether the line is dreamy or playful, there’s room for everyone to breathe—including the listener. Though Mehldau’s liner notes for the disc—and exegesis of sorts on the “how”s and “why”s of jazz composition—run to some 22 pages, the music itself is not so dauntingly complex. “Fear and Trembling” is a stand out, flirting with the listener through a half-open door to come in and stay awhile.

—MS