Sunday, February 18 , 2018, 4:16 pm | Fair 64º


Jazz at Lobero Presents Brad Mehldau

Pianist is at once an improviser and a formalist

Brad Mehldau to play solo at Lobero Theatre.
Brad Mehldau to play solo at Lobero Theatre. (Photo via Lobero Theatre)

Jazz at the Lobero welcomes Brad Mehldau back to the Lobero Theatre at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, as part of the Jazz at the Lobero Fall series. Mehldau will perform solo in an evening highlighting his dexterity as an artist who easily crosses from jazz into classical and pop music.

Mehldau is one of the most lyrical and intimate voices of contemporary jazz piano, forging a unique path that embodies the essence of jazz exploration, classical romanticism, and pop allure, according to Jazz at the Lobero.

Closing out this series on Dec. 6 will be Arturo Sandoval, a 10-time Grammy Award winner. A disciple of Dizzy Gillespie, Sandoval mixes elements of his Cuban upbringing into his live shows.

Mehldau’s musical personality forms a dichotomy.

He is first and foremost an improviser, who cherishes the surprise and wonder that can occur from a spontaneous musical idea that is expressed directly, in real time. But he also has a fascination for the formal architecture of music, and it informs everything he plays.

In his most inspired playing, the actual structure of his musical thought serves as an expressive device. As he plays, he listens to how ideas unwind, and the order in which they reveal themselves.

Each tune has a strongly felt narrative arch, whether it expresses itself in a beginning, an end, or something left intentionally open-ended. The two sides of Mehldau’s personality — the improviser and the formalist — play off each other, and the effect is often something like controlled chaos.

Mehldau has performed around the world at a steady pace since the mid-1990s’, with his trio and as a solo pianist.

His performances convey a wide range of expression. There is often an intellectual rigor to the continuous process of abstraction that may take place on a given tune, and a certain density of information.

That could be followed by a stripped down, emotionally direct ballad. Mehldau favors juxtaposing extremes. He has attracted a sizeable following over the years, one that has grown to expect a singular, intense experience in his performance.

“Mehldau is the most influential jazz pianist of the last 20 years,” The New York Times reports.

Tickets for Mehldau are on sale at or by calling the box office, 963-0761. Tickets are $52 for Section A, $42 for Section B, with a limited number of VIP tickets available for $105.

VIP tickets include premier seating and a 7 p.m. pre-show reception in the Lobero courtyard with complimentary bar and hors-d'oeuvres.

Series subscribers enjoy priority seating, savings of almost 20 percent on single ticket prices, and advance updates on upcoming shows. Learn more by calling 963-0761.

The Lobero Brubeck Circle Members enjoy an exclusive 20 percent discount on all Jazz at the Lobero shows, even those offered outside the series.

The Brubeck Circle makes it possible for the Lobero to bring in jazz, blues and roots artists like Wayne Shorter, Dr. John, Chris Thile, Robert Cray, and Keb’ Mo'. Learn more about the Brubeck Circle at

— Angie Bertucci for Lobero Theatre.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >