Highway Rider, the upcoming two-disc release from jazz pianist and composer Brad Mehldau, is not your everyday jazz. That much is clear from the first few seconds of a video of the Highway Rider recording sessions, when producer Jon Brion quips, “We gotta, in the words of Buddy Rich, sit down and play some fuckin’ music… Unless, of course, you’re standing.”
Mehldau’s new record was produced by Brion, composer of such charming works as the I Heart Huckabees soundtrack and collaborator/producer on albums by Spoon, Elliott Smith, David Byrne and Rufus Wainwright, to name a few.
But Mehldau’s also a pretty interesting character himself. A jazz musician with a penchant for reinterpreting Radiohead (on previous releases, he’s covered “Knives Out” and “Paranoid Android”), his catalog of orchestral compositions includes a piece entitled “The Brady Bunch Variations.”
Highway Rider features a full orchestra, two drummers, a bassist, a sax and Meldhau’s piano. The album is out March 16 on Nonesuch, and pre-sales start tomorrow.