Keith JarrettKeith Jarrett: The Art of ImprovisationEuroarts
When Keith Jarrett is "in the zone his face takes on an expression of sublime agony reminiscent of a woman in the throes of childbirth. Creating music live for him is an act of profound, physical intensity: his entire body is tense and he moves restlessly, often standing at or slithering around and under the keyboard, feet bouncing, head jerking, hands sometimes flying up off the keyboard as if launched by some strong force.
The Art of Improvisation is, on the surface, a standard videography, but it contains a few nice surprises. There's a scene, of ECM boss Manfred Eicher in a studio reviewing a live performance, that is given time to stretch out, conveying both the loveliness of the music and Eicher's deep concentration. Jarrett's brother, Scott plays a tape of he and Keith performing one of Scott's tunes, with Keith singing the lyric. There are also sublime passages of live performance that bring the viewer into the music in a way even attending a live show could not achieve. In one shot, the camera seems to approximate Jarrett's point of view, focussing first on drummer Jack DeJohnette, who is lightly comping a rhythmic, vamping solo by Gary Peacock. As DeJohnette's face registers sheer joy in the moment, the focus moves forward to Peacock, who looks relaxed as he does his thing, then we cut to Jarrett, who has been, like us, delighting in the scene all along. He has the "zone grimace and let's out a little whoop of pleasure. Our sentiments exactly.
Jarrett emerges as a man not to be trifled with but certainly no bête noir in this film. The film brings us closer to Jarrett, his band and the process by which he makes his music. Yet, even as we feel we know this man a little better, the awesome fact of his genius remains. He's a very rare, totally original artist we should all treasure and The Art of Improvisation is one way of doing so.
Visit Keith Jarrett on the web.
Interviews with: Keith Jarrett, Manfred Eicher, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette, Steve Cloud, Scott Jarrett, George Avakian, Gary Burton, Tashinari Koinuma, Chick Corea, Charlie Haden, Dewey Redman, Rose Anne Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Jon Christensen, Palle Danielsson
Chapter Listing: Essentially an Improviser; Three is Not a Crowd; Small Hands; A Potential Star; Moments to Echo; Solo; Invader in the Ranks; Sounds and Pulses; Musical Seduction; The European Group; Sacrifices; Epilogue Bonus Features: The Keith Jarrett Trio, Live in Concert perform "Butch and Butch ; Extra interviews with Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette