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Charlie Haden, Brad Mehldau 'Long Ago and Far Away' is full of subtlety, empathy and compassion / Elsewhere

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Recorded live in 2007 at a church in Mannheim, this recording only became available late this year – four years after bassist Charlie Haden's death at 76. Haden and pianist Brad Mehldau – thirty something years Haden's junior – had enjoyed a comfortable friendship, and a performance and recording association. That ease in each other's company is evident in their supportive interplay on the six standards which come as second nature to them.

That allows each of them, in solos or together, to gently push these tunes (among them Charlie Parker's Au Privave, My One and Only Love, the Kern-Gershwin title track). A particular standout it the 13 minute exploration of the melodically beautiful My Love and I which opens with such slow romance it is impossible not to sink lower in the seat and let Mehldau be your considerate guide into his world of warmth with a few touches of the blues to remind you that love does not always run smoothly.

What Will I Do is its equal. Haden – whose work ran the gamut from free jazz to hymns and country music – was one of the great bassists of any era and here confirmed that, by letting his less be more and one of his favourite pianists to shine. A remarkable recording full of subtlety, empathy and and compassion.

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