For a date the wife and I went to Clarice Smith to see Brad Mehldau/Chris Thile tonight. The executive summary is: fantastic, perfect, inspirational. I knew that Brad is one of those cats who will shape the music in the future. All I had heard is a few things on Yoo Toob but you can tell quickly that his technique is unsurpassed and that he is tuned in to some wavelength that will evolve the music. Perhaps I should explain. Some cats think that "Jazz" is a genre that deserves to be preserved under glass - Satchmo, Duke, you get the idea. Yes that was a great era but what it taught us is that "jazz" is actually a process of group improvisation where the "...highest ideals of a democratic society are introduced into the artistic process" that spans all genres. That may be paraphrasing John Conyers' HR 57 but it's all about teamwork and democracy - musicians talking to each other and creating music out of a conversation. That's what these cats did tonight. They did Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Celtic, and broke into Dexterity (Bird) and through it all they were completely mind-melded - really good stuff! I was speechless (some folks would be eternally greatful!) I didn't even know what instrument Chris played when I bought the tickets. Once in a while someone comes along to liberate an instrument - to completely change the concept of how it is played. Charlie Parker and Bela Fleck come to mind. Chris Thile is such a guy. For me he has redefined how the mandolin is played. He knocked Dexterity out of the park but I was convinced an hour before that. On top of that he sings very well. I was having visions of Stevie Winwood. These are two very bad MoFos!