My local record store is selling this under the Classical Music section, so is it really jazz at all? Perhaps more importantly, does a label matter when the music is so good?
The 2 CD set of "Love Songs" is very much a game of 2 halves. CD1 presents 7 original songs penned by Mehldau, at although it's okay, it takes itself rather too seriously in places. Anne Sofie Von Otter has a superb voice, but it's probably not used to best effect on this material, with Mehldau trying too hard to sound classical in structure and performance. It's more like a recording of some Brahms lieder than contemporary music.
CD2 is something very different, and very special. 13 songs from masters of the craft, these are a million miles from the slightly unstructured songs on the first CD. They are tightly written, beautifully lyrical, and say a lot with a few words - which is where the craft of songwriting comes into its own.
Mehldau proves himself a sympathetic and unobtrusive accompanist, and the style works brilliantly for the vocals. To say Anne Sofie Von Otter is world-class is perhaps to undersell things. Her performance on a couple of standout tracks here: Michel Legrand's "What Are you doing the rest of your life?" and Leonard Bernstein's "Some other time" - make the purchase price worth it for these alone. Outstanding, and likely to raise the hairs on the back of the nect with their emotional connection.
Anyone who enjoyed Von Otter's work with Elvis Costello on the "For The Stars" album will find much to enjoy here.
But back to the original question. Fine though the music is - is it jazz? Well, probably not, but somehow, on this occasion, it really doesn't seem to matter.