Recorded at the Bordeaux National Opera House, in July 2016, Bordeaux Concert marks Keith Jarrett's final solo performance in France. The improvised suite came from a prolific European tour which has produced three ECM releases to date. There is little doubt that the label will continue to extract Jarrett's live performances in the post-2018 period, which has left him unable to play. Bordeaux Concert demonstrates that, even as Jarrett aged and cultivated his repertoire, he never let intellect overpower spontaneity.
Bordeaux Concert, like all the pianist's solo outings, is a voyage of discovery. In comparison to Jarrett's other 2016 ECM tour releases, Munich 2016 (2019) and Budapest Concert (2020), Bordeaux Concert stands apart in its exquisiteness. The album has its share of restive improvisations such as the opening atonal sequence of "Part I" and "Part II" with a frenzied baroque flavor. "Part VIII" is vintage Jarrett blues from the front pew. Aside from these more frenetic pieces, "Part III," "Part VI," "Part IX," "Part XI" and "Part XII," are reminders of Jarrett's inimitable ability to pull a beautiful melody from the ether.
The extensiveness of Jarrett's spontaneous creations continues to be a marvel. Even in the shorter-form pieces that he favored in his later performances, he succeeded in mingling styles, from gospel to classical, blues, jazz, and free improvisation. Bordeaux Concert is an intriguing masterpiece, rapturous, enthusiastic, and creative on a scale which few can relate to. As with his later releases Munich 2016 and A Multitude of Angels (2016) Jarrett reminds the listener that he is the spirit and embodiment of improvisation. It makes one hope, against all expectations, that he will play again.
Part I; Part II; Part III; Part IV; Part V; Part VI; Part VII; Part VIII; Part IX; Part X; Part XI; Part XII; Part XIII.
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