Gut over intellect:

Laura Streyle

The time has come for the grand finale of the 100th Jazz Series season here at Lawrence. The New York Voices’ Grammy award-winning sound started the tune of the jazz series season back in November.
Building on this group’s jazzy foundation, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen brought her fresh and lively playing to the table, collaborating with the Lawrence Jazz Trio and the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble.
With her distinctive vocal jazz style, Jackie Allen was next to take the chapel stage, delivering an electric performance that included selections with the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra.
This Saturday, May 2, at 8 p.m., three jazz musicians will finish off the tune of the 2008-2009 Jazz Series season with the use of a piano, a bass and a drum set.
The trio is made up of Brad Mehldau on piano, Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums. The Memorial Chapel is the trio’s second stop of its national spring tour, the first stop being Orchestra Hall in Chicago. Come summer, the musicians will take their music overseas and will continue touring internationally throughout the year.
Having recently recorded an album entitled “Brad Mehldau Trio: Live,” which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group, chances are good that the Brad Mehldau Trio will provide a satisfying close to the jazz season this Saturday evening.
The trio’s namesake, Brad Mehldau, has interest in music that moves beyond the piano and into the philosophical field of music making. Mehldau has written articles for Jazz Times magazine. He also writes poetry and provides written commentary on his Web site about his works.
An article from the December 2003 issue of Jazz Times titled “Ideology, Burgers and Beer,” provides a peek into the thoughts of Mehldau as a thinker and as a performing musician: “When you build your identity as a player, you do so in part by excluding a bunch of other identities, at least temporarily. That process of exclusion is determined by the gut, not the intellect.”
Mehldau is also known outside of the jazz world, often cited for his inventive Radiohead covers, as well as his “Largo” album, a collaboration with producer/composer Jon Brion, the man behind both Kanye West’s “Late Registration” album and the “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” soundtrack, among others.
The musical and personal identity that Mehldau has constructed thus far will show through his music this Saturday night. There will not be a pre-formulated paper program for audience members to structure their selective listening with; the music will be absorbed and heard “by the gut, not the intellect.” The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are available through the box office.