Over the past 40 years, Keith Jarrett has come to be recognized as one of the most creative musicians of our times - universally acclaimed as an improviser of unsurpassed genius; a master of jazz piano; a classical keyboardist of great depth; and as a composer who has written hundreds of pieces for his various jazz groups, plus extended works for orchestra, soloist, and chamber ensemble.
Born May 8, 1945 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Keith Jarrett began playing the piano at age 3 and undertook classical music studies throughout his youth; performing as a child in programs at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia and at Madison Square Garden. He undertook formal composition studies at age 15, before moving to Boston to briefly study at the Berklee College of Music. While still in his late teens, arrangements were made to study composition in Paris with the great pedagogue Nadia Boulanger, but then canceled at the last moment in favor of moving to New York in 1964 to play jazz.
After a tentative period sitting in at the Village Vanguard and other New York jazz spots, Jarrett toured first with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. From 1966 to 1968 he was the pianist with the Charles Lloyd Quartet which quickly became one of the most popular groups on the changing late-Sixties jazz scene with best-selling records and worldwide tours. He soon led his own trio with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian (which in 1972 expanded to a quartet with the addition of tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman). Then in 1970/71, Jarrett became a featured member in Miles Davis' electric fusion group, playing electric piano and organ - his last stint as a sideman, thereafter, dedicating himself exclusively to performing acoustic music as a solo artist and as a leader.