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Suite: April 2020 is a musical snapshot of life the last month in the world in which we've all found ourselves, composed by celebrated jazz pianist Brad Mehldau.
While sheltering at home with his family in the Netherlands during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mehldau decided to compose a 12-part suite inspired by the circumstances. "I've tried to portray on the piano some experiences and feelings that are both new and common to many of us," he wrote in a note about the album on his website.
In addition to the 12 parts of "Suite: April 2020," the album of the same name includes three covers of songs by Neil Young ("Don't Let It Bring You Down"), Billy Joel ("New York State of Mind"), and Jerome Kern ("Look for the Silver Lining").
"I've pointed to some of the strong feelings that have arisen the past month or more: 'Remembering Before All This' expresses a bittersweet gut-pain that has hit me several times out of the blue, when I think back on how things were even just a few months ago, and how long ago and far away that seems now; 'Uncertainty' hits on the feeling that can follow right after that-a hollow fear of an unknown future," Mehldau writes.
"There's also been a welcome opportunity to connect more deeply with my family than we ever have, because of the abundant time and close proximity. The last three pieces hit on that connection-the harmony we find with each other, making meals together or just horsing around. 'Lullaby' is for everyone who might find it hard to sleep now.
"Neil Young's words in 'Don't Let It Bring You Down' have always been counsel for me, now more than ever, when he instructs: 'Don't let it bring you down/It's only castles burning/Find someone who's turning/And you will come around.' Billy Joel's 'New York State of Mind,' a song I've loved since I was nine years old, is a love letter to a city that I've called my home for years, and that I'm far away from now. I know lots of people there and miss them terribly, and I know how much that great city hurts right now. I also know that it too will come around."
The standard album release set for Sept. 18, 2020 will set aside portions of its proceeds for Jazz Foundation of America's COVID-19 Musicians' Emergency Fund.
|1. I. waking up|
|2. II. stepping outside|
|3. III. keeping distance|
|4. IV. stopping, listening: hearing|
|5. V. remembering before all this|
|6. VI. uncertainty|
|7. VII. – the day moves by –|
|8. VIII. yearning|
|9. IX. waiting|
|10. X. in the kitchen|
|11. XI. family harmony|
|12. XII. lullaby|
|13. Don’t Let It Bring You Down|
|14. New York State of Mind|
|15. Look for the Silver Lining|