Music: Places in the Heart

On his new CD, jazz pianist Brad Mehldau takes listeners on a global tour of his world-class talent

Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau travels with giants. In the introspective and eloquent liner notes to his new album, Places (Warner Bros.), he writes of the chronic, insatiable longing he suffers for distant lands and offers a melancholy quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "The sad self, unrelenting...that I fled from...My giant goes with me wherever I go."

There are other giants who walk alongside Mehldau, whose work is informed by both jazz and classical composers. Like piano great Bill Evans, Mehldau, 30, is a jazz polymath, filtering disparate philosophical ideas into his art (Mignon's Song, a Mehldau composition on a previous CD,...

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