Metheny & Mehldau at Carnegie Hall

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Up in the gods at Carnegie Hall last night I enjoyed a sublime musical experience. Guitarist Pat Metheny and pianist Brad Mehldau wove a spell upon their audience, both as a duo and at times with the rest of Mehldau’s regular trio, the extraordinary Larry Grenadier (bass) and Jeff Ballard (drums).

Seeing the two headliners on stage together was like watching stars collide. The only unfortunate thing was that whoever directed the lighting took that metaphor a bit literally to my taste. Their repertoire was a mixture of compositions composed by either or both musicians, recorded on two CDs, the most recent of which was released two weeks ago.

I saw two people surreptitiously recording the concert – from my $66 balcony seat I had a bird’s-eye view – and wondered whether these music pirates were doing this for their private pleasure or to make a future buck at the artist’s (literal) expense. But even the pirates joined the rest of us for the standing ovation at the end.

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