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Live Reviews

Keith Jarrett's Return To Carnegie Hall

By Published: February 22, 2009
The spectacular, even magical, moment of the evening came just as the audience expected Jarrett to walk off for the last time. Instead the unpredictable artist stopped to take the mic and explain that he didn't record in studios because his music would be impossible without the connection that he feels with his audience—a connection, he further stated, that is uniquely possible in music, and only in music. No other art form, he asserted, permits a closer connection between audience and performer, and this bond is what allows him and his audience to create such awe-inspiring and remarkable music. He then immediately turned, walked over to the piano, and sat down. Then, for the first time in his career, Jarrett played a sixth encore—a medium blues that summed up the entire energy of the concert. It was as if Jarrett was so moved by this audience that he ignored the time and decided, why not play one more? It's doubtful an audience was more deserving—and appreciative.

Jarrett's Carnegie Hall concert may well have been the greatest solo performance of his career. To see him raise the bar again was truly a spectacular event—not only for himself but for the nearly three thousand fans, which gave him six passionate standing ovations and would have easily given him six more. For many, this concert was a dream come true, providing some compensation for Jarrett fans who wish they could have been at previous triumphs such as The Koln Concert in 1975, The Vienna Concert in 1991, and The Carnegie Hall Concert in 2005. Another milestone has been added to the list: Carnegie Hall 2009 will undeniably be remembered as a singular triumph in Keith Jarrett's career and, as far as Jarrett fans are concerned, quite possibly in music.

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