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This unit is commonly known as the "Standards" trio, and that is indeed what Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, and Jack DeJohnette play during much of their time together. But the trio has more than that under its belt. Just listen back over the Changes and Changeless albums, not to mention Gary Peacock’s 1977 gem Tales of Another. These three giants have produced brilliance with both standard and original material, and on Inside Out, recorded last July in London, they shine with no material at all. The album consists of three rather long free improvisations, one shorter one ("Riot"), and a closing rendition of "When I Fall In Love." The free format is something the trio has continued to explore in its sets. When Jarrett played the JVC Festival this year at Carnegie Hall, for instance, one of the selections was a free improvisation.
Jarrett is certainly no stranger to free playing, having established himself as a master of the improvised solo concert over the last three decades. Much of the music here — alternately meditative, tumultuous, grooving, bluesy, folky, melancholy — sounds rather like a Jarrett solo concert with bass and drum accompaniment. But this accompaniment is not incidental, of course. The ebbs and flows happen collaboratively, in dialogue. "From the Body" begins with harmonically sparse interplay, becomes a dark ballad with Eastern European overtones after about 16 minutes, and finally comes to a calm end. The title track opens with diffuse, syncopated swing that grows in intensity, then winds down to a folk-like cadence, which in turn builds to a hard-hitting gospel groove in six. Peacock’s sonorous instrument kicks off "341 Free Fade"; DeJohnette’s hi-hat enters, establishing a sense of rhythmic foreboding while Jarrett vamps with urgent lines and chords. The piece descends (or ascends, perhaps) into total freedom. DeJohnette plays every last piece of hardware on the kit before the track fades out. Conversely, "Riot" fades in, already in progress, sounding something like the sea in bad weather.
Track Listing: 1. From the Body 2. Inside Out 3. 341 Free Fade 4. Riot 5. When I Fall In Love
Personnel: Keith Jarrett, piano; Gary Peacock, double bass; Jack DeJohnette, drums
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.