Brad Mehldau takes on the timeless catalogue of The Beatles in his latest album, Your Mother Should Know: Brad Mehldau Plays the Beatles. With his unmatched musical fluency and profound mastery of the piano, this beloved repertoire is given the Mehldau treatment, each Beatles hit serving as the basis for truly soul-stirring excursions.
This album speaks to Mehldau’s maturity as a pianist. The decorated jazz pianist, now in his 50’s, approaches the repertoire here with the grace of a master, treading a fine line between honouring the source material and really making the songs his own. Mehldau handpicks a diverse selection from the Beatles’ vast catalogue, though he seems to have a taste for most of their post-Rubber Soul era work, and imbues them with his signature jazz, blues, gospel, and baroque flavours. “I am the Walrus”’ makes for some delightful post-modern harmonic experimentation and “I Saw Her Standing There ” lends itself readily to being the bluesy number here. The entire album was recorded live in front of an audience at the Philharmonie de Paris in 2020, making for a reverent Jarrett-esque ambiance.
Your Mother Should Know is not only a testament to Mehldau’s remarkable musical talent but also a celebration of the enduring legacy of The Beatles. It serves as a reminder of the band’s profound influence on popular music and showcases their songs’ enduring appeal across genres and generations. Mehldau’s interpretation breathes new life into these classic tunes, making them accessible to jazz enthusiasts and Beatles fans alike. It is often overlooked that jazz musicians of the 50’s and 60’s were reworking, reinterpreting, and reinvigorating the popular repertoire of their day. For a generation more familiar with the Magical Mystery Tour than the Great American Songbook this album can open doors to what jazz really is.