Neo-classical jazz pianist Brad Mehldau has risen to stardom in the jazz community largely through impeccably elegant versions of well-known standards. Unlike most young players, Mehldau's strength is in his ballads; he's a player of extraordinary sensitivity and dynamics. He's certainly capable of blowing everyone away with his Bop virtuosity, but he knows when to keep it in check. For instance, on one song he repeats a dirge-like theme several times, altering it just a little bit each time before embarking on a solo flight. The effect is to emphasize the mournful quality of the theme itself, rather than view the theme as an afterthought for the solo statement. As well as being a top-flight soloist, Mehldau's an accomplished composer with a wide repertoire of original tunes.