This 2001 release marks a departure from the Trio’s standards-based format and in pianist, Keith Jarrett’s words: “I mentioned to Jack (DeJohnette) and Gary (Peacock), during a tour in Europe, that perhaps we would scrap the format – the whole idea of having to use any material.” Recorded during two evenings at London’s “Royal Festival Hall,” this oft-celebrated band swerves a bit left of center during these truly exhilarating performances, as the artists reinvestigate previously applied methodologies.
Sure, these musicians are no strangers to the ways or implementations of improvisation. However, the band frequently improvises within a structured approach, largely due to the choice of predefined material, yet here, this outfit excels and perhaps provide a clinic on the art of pursuing meaningful and altogether impressionable three-way dialogue. Needless to state, its been over two decades since Jarrett, Paul Motian (drums), Charlie Haden (bass) and Dewey Redman (sax) rendered programs consisting of open-ended interplay, and Ornette Coleman- style harmolodics amid a deeply personalized mode of attack. Whereas, Jack DeJohnette’s 70’s and 80’s group led albums for “ECM Records” and a recent recording starring trumpeter, Wadada Leo Smith bespeaks free or avant-garde inclinations. Otherwise, bassist, Gary Peacock’s recent outings with pianists, Marilyn Crispell and Paul Bley find the artist engaging in buoyant rhythmic parameters and quietly expansive frameworks.
The opener “From The Body,” is a twenty-two minute proposition featuring Jarrett’s soul/funk brew and Peacocks’s contrapuntal responses atop a bit of R&B style fun and frolic, although the musicians sequentially alter the ebb and flow with dreamscape type transitional passages. Essentially, these pieces, other than the one standard and closer, “When I Fall In Love” elicit notions of improvised suites. Jarrett’s harmonically driven clusters, rapid flurries, bluesy choruses and trance like determination on “Inside Out,” serves as the catalyst for DeJohnette’s elegantly executed dynamics and Peacock’s polytonal means of timekeeping. “341 Free Fade” is a delicately enacted free-jazz romp, enhanced by DeJohnette’s springy countercurrents and smattering of rim shots. However, “Riot,” boasts slightly ominous overtones, where Jarrett’s lower register ostinato groove initiates the groups’ odd metered funk/shuffle statements. Here and throughout, the pianist seemingly glides across the piano keys, as the band utilizes space as a channel for expansion and the regeneration of sub-plots and memorably melodic themes.
With Inside Out, the artists’ seemingly realign their musical know-how while extending their years of uniformity to the next logical degree of amplitude or state of being. Simply put, the Trio reminds us that improvisation in general does not require a total sense of randomness without reason; as we listen to the musicians create a masterpiece akin to an artist applying strokes to a canvas. The underlying focal point rings of substance and beauty as this production also signifies entertainment of the highest order. Strongly recommended. (A top pick for 2001)