I don’t own or listen to a lot of contemporary jazz myself, so I’m a little outside my comfort zone here, but Brad Mehldau (1970) often uses tones that touch (or should I say ‘hit’) me.
This solo track ‘Paris’ is ‘a piece of transcendental beauty. It starts with a deep, delicate melody, that continuously grows and expands until exploding into a shocking, rock-classical arpeggio (a mix of Radiohead and Rachmaninoff…)’.
The 11 compositions on ‘Places’ (from 2000, on some tracks with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy) were conceived on the road, and only midway through did Mehldau realize that there was a connection. The designated theme is travel; each selection bears the name of a place or mood.
The titles in themselves mean nothing as far as the content of the music is concerned, or so he writes in another lengthy, provocative liner note. Rather, the album is about the constancy of his personality and musical language, taking all of your personal mental baggage with you wherever you travel.