Keith Jarrett: Radiance & The Out-of-Towners

Francis Lo Kee By

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Keith Jarrett's career in music is rich in details. A sideman with Charles Lloyd and Miles Davis and one-time leader of two immensely creative quartets (one based in the US, the other in Europe), both of which have featured his unique compositions. He's also written for string quartet, string ensemble, brass quintet and has performed classical music (incredible performances of Shostakovitch and Hovhaness come quickly to mind). Some might say he is resting on his reputation and not "pushing the envelope , but his "standards trio is a brazenly creative band and now with Radiance, his first extended solo recording in almost a decade, Jarrett is back and ready to push people's buttons again.

Keith Jarrett
ECM Records

Comparisons to The Köln Concert are inevitable with Radiance. While Köln starts with a simple, attractive melody, "Radiance Part 1 starts in a more complex fashion, a two-handed counterpoint that develops into an almost Cecil Taylor-like texture of density and dissonance before traveling onto the beautiful romantic lyricism of the sort people associate with Jarrett. However, the 17 parts of Radiance are diverse in sound and timings (from 1:27 to 13:34), from its short low register bebop statements ("Part 11 lasts just over a minute) to the Celtic folk song qualities (complete with a piano version of the bagpipe drone on "Part 12 ).

Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette
The Out-of-Towners
ECM Records

Though The Out-of-Towners (recorded live in Munich in July, 2001) is yet another CD by his standards trio (bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette), there is overlap with Radiance in that the extended "Intro is credited to Jarrett as a composer (it serves as an intro to "I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me ), as is the title track, "The Out-of-Towners, a free-ish blues. "You've Changed is a touching ballad performance complete with the very dynamic touch of Jarrett and a lyrical bass solo from Peacock. Cole Porter's "I Love You is taken at a brisk tempo and features the pianist's creative, fleet melodic lines floating over DeJohnette's propulsive ride cymbal. DeJohnette's solo uses mostly the ride cymbal at various dynamic levels leading into something that evokes a gong trance ritual that, in turn, leads back into some of the greatest American jazz drumming you will ever hear.

Gerry Mulligan's "Five Brothers finds Jarrett trading eights with DeJohnette and it's once again a great display of the drummer's comprehension of the vocabularies of Gene Krupa, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones and many other drum pioneers, turning it into his own vocabulary right before our very ears. "It's All In The Game is a gorgeous solo performance and a great way to end a CD with all the ingredients of a great jazz performance: fire, tenderness, sophistication and direct uncontrived statements.


Tracks: Radiance, Pt. 1-17.

Personnel: Keith Jarrett: piano.

The Out-of-Towners

Tracks: Intro/I Can't Believe That You're in Love With Me; You've Changed; I Love You; The Out-of-Towners; Five Brothers; It's All in the Game.

Personnel: Jack DeJohnette: drums; Keith Jarrett: piano; Gary Peacock: double-bass.


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