When the Voice speaks, listen to the Voice. Whether it is from a minaret or, as in Nipper's case, an oversized cornet, when the Voice speaks one pauses and listens. And when Keith Jarrett hears that Voice and starts playing, one should respectfully listen (no coughing please), because from wherever the Voice originates, it sure begets wonders.
Over the years, the controversial pianist has attempted to explain what actually goes on during the act of spontaneous composition. His mentioning of "the Voice," an integral part of a tripartite exchange phenomenon in which the improviser "sends down" for "the composer" to develop, has had many shake their head in despair.
Forced into semiretirement after reaching a stratospheric creative plateau and after having set excessively high musical benchmarks, Jarrett remains a mythical guru. Although he resurfaces sporadically since his diagnosis of CFS to revisit his favorite standards, My Foolish Heart
finds his acclaimed trio going deeper into the American songbook with three novelties from the Swing era, played idiomatically without a hint of mockery, as reinforced in Jarrett's liner notes.
In fact, two of those spur-of-the-moment tracks, "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Honeysuckle Rose," have bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette playing most convincing solos, the latter with boisterous floor tom and snare drum rolls, the former with a short, sprightly chorus (which recalls Red Mitchell, the oft-forgotten master bassist) that has even Jarrett express approbation.
DeJohnette's possessed swing just does not let go on "Oleo" and "The Song Is You." He massages the rhythmic plane with his driving cymbal work to then rupture it with interlocked bass drum rumbles and snare drum flares that reunite flowingly into the brisk pulse.
The trio loosens up Thelonious Monk's blues, "Straight, No Chaser," with shifting tempi and wavering elan, as if to chasten a somewhat chaste set (the audience even acquiescing to Jarrett's interruption of applauses as he indulges in a frenzied yet nevertheless musically interesting improvised coda.) "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" is given all the melancholy and sadness its title suggests, with Jarrett playing the simplest yet evocative melodies.
The Jarrett-DeJohnette trade-offs on "On Green Dolphin Street" are arguably the strongest exchanges, as both friends feed off each other's ideas, trying to outplay one anotherJarrett with showers of lightning fast lines and incisive intervallic ideas sequenced after DeJohnetteâ????s matched, thunderous phrases.
Like an aging Grand Cru, the Trio looses febrility and develops roundness. But, and this is where it is interesting, it retains plenty of astringency and complexity for full appreciation; in silence, it goes without saying.