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Keith Jarrett: Tokyo '96

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

In one of their last performances before Jarrett's illness took him from his public, his Standards Trio plays a typically inventive set of interpretations of tunes of former or perennial popularity, a Charlie Parker blues ("Billie's bounce") and a Bud Powell tune out of "I've got rhythm" ("John's abbey"). Jarrett also gets credit for two compositions ("Caribbean sky" and "Song"), dignifying the vamps which conclude their associated standards with titles, and, no doubt, composer's royalties. Throughout, Jarrett alternates sensitivity with flair, literally as he alternates ballads with up-tempo performances. It's evident that his many years leading this group have not diminished his enthusiasm for either its format or its repertoire. The Tokyo audience is likewise appreciative.

I only found one track really galvanizing, though. The trio's playing on "I'll remember April" is spectacular, with DeJohnette cooking up a spectacular near-samba under Jarrett's ringing gospel chords. A whole concert of such excitement would restore the Standards Trio to an eminence in this reviewer's humble opinion which it enjoys among the more committed members of its audience. There's nothing to complain about in any of the date, to be sure.

Knowledgeable fans will be interested to learn that Jarrett's invariable vocalizations are here only intermittent and not generally obtrusive. For the rest, let it be said that the trio maintains its reputation as a consistently satisfying performing group.

Track Listing: It could happen to you; Never let me go; Billie's bounce; Summer night; I'll remember April; Mona Lisa; Autumn leaves; Last night when we were young / Caribbean sky; John's abbey; My funny valentine / Song

Personnel: Keith Jarrett, piano; Gary Peacock, bass; Jack DeJohnette, drums

Record Label: ECM Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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