One of my favorite things about Jorge's playing is that he rarely seems to use extreme ranges of dynamics, yet is somehow able to constantly build intensity throughout a piece. He's never inaudibly quiet, and never really bashes. He exudes a sustained intensity that just seems to simmer, never getting cold, and never boiling over. It's a level of taste and control that I strive for.
Between 1997 and 2001The Brad Mehldau Trio released a collection of 5 albums entitled The Art of the Trio, that certainly will be (if they're not considered so already) classics. All three musicians inspired an entire generation of players on their respective instruments. Go to any club or jam session today and you will certainly hear the influence of these records.
One of my favorite cuts from the the Art of the Trio discs is the first tune from the first album, Mehldau's arrangement of the Rodgers and Hart song, "I Didn't Know What Time It Was".
Although Larry Grenadier's bass line and Rossy's comping sound quite syncopated and jagged, it is important to note that what really carries the time throughout is the ride cymbal. With very few exceptions, Jorge is playing the ride on every single quarter note, driving the tune forward just as you would on a hard bop tune.
There's a lot of really subtle stuff going on in here, which is very cool, but may defeat the purpose of learning it if you dive right in and worry about every last little note from the get go. The best way to approach this is to play the ride cymbal part for awhile first before learning the accompaniment part. Listen to the track multiple times, play the ride cymbal along with it, and find the pocket first. Then add the other parts.
The album version of the tune isn't on YouTube, so you'll have to Spotify it. Or better yet….