All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

8

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

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
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 were here before there was a U.S. Federal Government will still be here millennia after there is no more United States.

Speaking of things eternal, the trio of pianist Keith Jarrett, bassist Gary Peacock, and drummer Jack DeJohnette mark 30 years playing standards together with a brief West Coast tour—Los Angeles, Seattle, and the final night in Berkeley, at Zellerbach Auditorium on the University of California campus. Presented in Berkeley by Cal Performances, the trio was warmly received by a packed house of 2,000 knowledgeable enthusiasts.

Arriving the same weekend as the Cal football team who was hosting Washington State, Jarrett told the crowd to forgive him, "But I'm trying to get the marching band out of my head." That jocular mood, not noted as a trait of the persnickety pianist, relaxed the audience, and set the tone for the evening.

The trio's 'brand' is a combination of improvisation and interplay. Jarrett, who generally works without a set list and does not call out the tunes, began most pieces unaccompanied. Peacock and DeJohnette joined in from musical cues honed from years of familiarity. 

The nonchalant theme of the night persisted. Jarrett was in the mood for bluesy swing and bits of funkiness, opening with John Lewis' "Django," followed by some hyper-speed bebop. Their standards included the non-jazz standard "Fever," which, in their hands, was transformed into an intricate chamber piece with Jarrett reconfiguring the music into a complex piece of origami. DeJohnette was content to accompany the pianist with the smallest of gestures. Rarely taking a loud solo, he manipulated time and his patterns with a wrist flick and brush work that painted his cymbals.

The audience was keenly aware that these three fellows were enjoying themselves, as Gary Peacock seemed unable to suppress his smile throughout.

Whether they were pulling music from bebop, Broadway, or Berkeley itself, their ritual music making transformed each song into a mini-masterpiece. This 30-years celebration brings to mind another anniversary, that of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts touring for their fiftieth year. Unlike the British rockers, Jarrett, Peacock, and DeJohnette are not tasked with playing the same old hits. Unless, of course drawing from hundreds (maybe a thousand) standards is the same old—same old. Jarrett's "G Blues" began in an off-centered manner, the pianist pushing odd angles against Peacock and DeJohnette. After he stood to towel off, DeJohnette pulled the music back to center, balancing the music out.  

Unlike most trios, the ballads are not simply filler between the hits. With the Standards Trio, they are what the crowd came for. Covering "You've Changed," Peacock took a singing solo that left Jarrett (and the audience) beaming. His expressive bass soloes this evening rivaled the pianist's deft touch.  

The trio might have saved the best for last. Called back for two encores, first they covered "When I Fall In Love" with DeJohnette accompanying on cymbals only and Billie Holiday's "God Bless The Child." The songs were edge-of-your-seat listening, Jarrett holding the crowd in an ecstatic spellbound state.  

Like the giant sequoias of California, their music was timeless, and the three musicians made the argument that they too, might outlast the government.  

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Detroit Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Detroit Jazz Festival 2018
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 19, 2018
Read Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews
Beethoven, Barber and Vivaldi at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia 2018 Live Reviews
Bryan Ferry at the Macedonian Philharmonic Hall, Macedonia...
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood Vampires, Black Asteroids & Paul Lamb Live Reviews
Live From Birmingham: Dinosaur, Meatraffle, Hollywood...
by Martin Longley
Published: September 16, 2018
Read Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Binker & Moses At London's Jazz Cafe
by Chris May
Published: September 15, 2018
Read 12 Points 2018 Live Reviews
12 Points 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 14, 2018
Read "Redwood City Salsa Festival 2017" Live Reviews Redwood City Salsa Festival 2017
by Walter Atkins
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "NYC Winter Jazzfest 2018 - The Friday Marathon" Live Reviews NYC Winter Jazzfest 2018 - The Friday Marathon
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 22, 2018