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Keith Jarrett: Munich 2016

Mike Jurkovic By

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Though he's had to modify his approach to his singular style of improvisation since his noted bout with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome roughly 1996-1998 and its exhausting recurrences since, Keith Jarrett continues to astonish with the music he conjures from thin air. There have been some intense examples of the peaks he still reaches (2005's Radiance, 2006's The Carnegie Hall Concert, 2009's Testament-Paris/London, and 2011's infectious and intoxicating Rio, all ECM). Munich 2016 stands alongside them.

With the era of the extended 20-30 minute improvisations long behind him mostly due to the CFS, Jarrett now spontaneously composes suites, shorter pieces brought to life by his keen, tireless muse and the environment in which he is playing. Munich 2016 erupts with the ferocious free diving "Part I" before the rather meandering "Part II" rewards the listener, like so many other moments in his extensive canon, with the moving gospel swell of "Part III." "Part IV" is one of those up-tempo, two parts boogie/three part blues concoctions that Jarrett's audience never tires of and the ringing applause testifies loudly to that fact.

There has always been an undeniable emotional undertow to Jarrett's solo performances, and the arcing flow of the shorter pieces keeps that tradition alive, as "Part IV" moves beatifically into "Part V" and the resonant "Part VI." Almost abruptly, the brief, avant grade flailing "Part VII" serves like thunder before the introspective summer rain that opens Disc Two "Part VIII." "Part IX" again is one of those variations on the bouncing boogie-woogie the crowd anticipates and regales in.

Jarrett encores with whimsical, almost childlike renditions of songs we all heard our parents and grandparents being enchanted by and we are, truth be told, no less enchanted. Especially moving is Hank Tobias' "It's A Lonely Old Town" (recorded by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Sting) and yet another sweet, tender and heartfelt reading of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow."

Track Listing: Disc 1: Part I; Part II; Part III; Part IV; Part V; Part VI; Part VII. Disc 2: Part VIII; Part IX; Part X; Part XI; Part XII; Answer Me, My Love; It’s A Lonesome Old Town; Over The Rainbow.

Personnel: Keith Jarrett: piano.

Title: Munich 2016 | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: ECM Records

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