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EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Keith Jarrett / Charlie Haden: Last Dance

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For the past 30 years--barring a few diversions into classical repertoire, unexpected instrumentation like 1986's Book of Ways and a couple of home-cooked solo albums that, as with the 1986 recording No End (ECM, 2013), were out-of-character recordings where he overdubbed all the instruments himself--pianist Keith Jarrett has been working two contexts and two contexts only: solo piano performances that, with the exception of the home-recorded The Melody at Night, With You (ECM, 1999), have all been recorded live; and his Standards Trio recordings--in all but one instance featuring bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette--that, with the exception of ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Keith Jarrett: Arbour Zena

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Given his overall focus on just two projects over the past three decades--with the exception of relatively rare diversions into the classical world or recordings like Jasmine (2010), an intimate duo date with bassist Charlie Haden--it's easy to forget that there was a time when pianist Keith Jarrett was not just one of the most innovative performers on the planet, but a writer constrained by no stylistic boundaries. These days, focusing as he does on performing solo and with his longstanding Standards Trio, it's only with the release of archival finds like Sleeper--Tokyo, April 16, 1979 (2012),with his Belonging Quartet ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Jarrett / Dennis Russell Davies: Ritual

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In pianist Keith Jarrett's vast ECM catalogue, albums on which he does not play aren't exactly common, but nor are they completely uncommon; his 1974 double-disc set In the Light features a handful of tracks on which he performs, but its primary focus is on Jarrett the composer. Ditto Luminessence (1975), a trilogy of compositions for string orchestra and improviser Jan Garbarek--a precursor to Arbour Zena (1976), also featuring the Norwegian saxophonist and string orchestra, but also including Jarrett and bassist Charlie Haden as featured performers. That album is part of ECM's Re:solutions series of reissues--seven albums in all so ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Jarrett: Concerts - Bregenz / Munchen

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In the realm of solo improvised piano performance, few approach Keith Jarrett's recorded legacy--both for quality and quantity. With Rio (2011), Jarrett brought the number of solo CD releases on his longtime label, ECM, to fifteen. The absence, in full, of Concerts (1982) on CD--originally three LPs of solo performances from Bregenz and München--has remained a mystery for years, the single-disc Bregenz show ultimately issued as Concerts, leaving the double-disc München MIA ever since. There was a close call, with a three-CD box containing both concerts mysteriously pulled at the eleventh hour, making this year's release of the complete Concerts: ...

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Keith Jarrett: No End

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When Keith Jarrett released Spirits in 1986 on his longstanding/exclusive label, Germany's ECM Records, this two-disc home recording--featuring the pianist on a multitude of instruments in addition to his main axe, including a bevy or recorders and flutes, guitar, saz and percussion--came out of the blue to his legion of fans while, at the same time, not representing a total surprise. After all, at this point in time, the musically voracious Jarrett was busy recording and touring with his then-nascent Standards Trio; delivering epic solo piano performances like Concerts: Bregenz/Munich--first released in 1981 but finally issued on CD in its ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, and Jack DeJohnette at Zellerbach Hall

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Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, and Jack DeJohnette Zellerbach Hall Berkeley, CA October 4, 2013 Day three of the United States government shut-down, and the public wasn't buying the official announcement that the giant sequoias in the Yosemite National Park “weren't available for viewing, today." Really? Those magnificent trees that have stood since before there was a United States, before there were colonies, and even before there was a bloody king of England, are taking a break. The National Park Service told us there is no Grand Canyon and no Redwoods too. Please. Some things that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Jarrett / Gary Peacock / Jack DeJohnette: Somewhere

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It's been four years since a recorded peep has been heard from pianist Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio, despite continuing to perform a few select dates each year. But even its last few ECM releases--2009's Yesterdays, 2007's My Foolish Heart and 2004's The Out-of-Towners--were all culled from a clearly fruitful 2001, making it well over a decade since a new recorded note has been heard from Jarrett's longest-lasting group. Fine albums all, the dearth of anything since that time has nevertheless begged the question, even amongst some of his most ardent fans, as to whether this undeniably fine trio had anything ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Jarrett: Hymns/Spheres

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In a career well into its fifth decade, while continuing to make fine music in the new millennium, looking back at Keith Jarrett's discography reveals that the 1970s was a particularly important--and busy--time for the influential pianist. In that single decade, Jarrett released epochal solo piano explorations like The Köln Concert (ECM, 1975); orchestral works including Arbour Zena (ECM, 1975); and led not one but two now-legendary groups--the American quartet responsible for The Survivor's Suite (ECM, 1976) and the European group first heard on Belonging (ECM, 1974), but whose archival Sleeper (ECM) was a 2012 highlight. Amidst even all that ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Keith Jarrett: Sleeper - Tokyo, April 16, 1979

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Keith JarrettSleeper: Tokyo, April 16, 1979ECM Records2012While ECM has, in recent years, been in the process of getting some of its older titles back in print through its Old & New Masters Edition series of box sets--some, like the music on Norwegian bassist Arild Andersen's Green Into Blue--Early Quartets (2010), seeing release on CD for the first time--the German label has avoided adopting the habit of so many others by steering clear of including previously unissued music from the sessions. Nor has the label fallen into the “remastering" trap; unless additional music ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Jarrett: Rio

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On occasion, Keith Jarrett's persona has overshadowed his creative contributions to music. Köln Concert (ECM, 1975) represented a defining benchmark for the legions who discovered jazz through it almost forty years ago. But while that seminal work was brilliant, it was not the virtuoso pianist best solo work. The live, spontaneously improvised Rio may not only be his personal best, but is also a flawless documentation of Jarrett's scope and understanding of composition and presentation. With fifteen compact pieces, the pianist has the opportunity to vary the program's styles to a greater extent than with some of his more epic-length ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Jarrett: Rio

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Rio documents one of Keith Jarrett's improvised concerts for which the pianist is famous. Like most of his dozen or so such albums, the title refers to the location where it was recorded, but the similarity ends there, since the two-disc set is a very unique work. 36 years after his groundbreaking The Köln Concert (ECM, 1975), Jarrett has come out with another masterpiece which, with time, will most certainly become a classic. While the former record and others, like La Scala ECM, 1997) were more contemplative and introspective,Rio is a multidimensional record that bursts with hues ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Jarrett: Rio

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Keith Jarrett's first solo piano album, Facing You (ECM, 1972), came out nearly forty years ago; since then he's become the high priest of piano improvisation, famed for his ability to walk onstage and, as a bemused Vladimir Ashkenazy put it, “play all the right notes" on the spot. Koln Concert (ECM, 1975) has sold almost 4 million copies, attracting listeners from far beyond the loyal enclaves of Soho and Greenwich Village. If jazz has any superstars, he's one of them. But can he keep this up? Jarrett thinks Rio, from an April, 2011 concert in Rio ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Jarrett: Rio

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If music is a reflection of where we live, it must also be a reflection of where we are at any given moment. As much as the undercurrent redolent of an artist's home can often be heard, a live performance can equally draw inspiration from where it is, especially if it's a place with its own musical tradition. There's little doubting the intrinsic Americanism of pianist Keith Jarrett on Rio--his first solo piano recording since Testament (ECM, 2009), where two largely dark performances drew on a difficult time in the pianist's personal life--but equally, there's no mistaking the Brazilian joie ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, McCoy Tyner: Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, McCoy Tyner

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Atlantic Records issued this collection 1976, featuring two tracks each from four of the most important pianists in the post-bop era. Excepting one piece, each pianist is represented here in trio format. The Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea offerings are from their own 1966 sessions as leaders. Jarrett contributes two original compositions and is joined by drummer Paul Motian and bassist Charlie Haden in pleasurable but somewhat conservative outings. Corea brings two different lineups: Joe Chambers on drums and Steve Swallow on bass alone for the pianist's own “Tones for Joan's Bone's," while trumpeter ...



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