There's not a whole lot 63 year-old jazz legend Keith Jarrett hasn't achieved in his illustrious forty year career as a recording and performing artist. He has recorded more than fifty albums in various formats, and each project has a special significance for his fans. The Keith Jarrett Trio has come a long way from its bright start in 1983. The success of three consecutive albums, two of jazz standardsStandards, Vol.1
(ECM, 1985) and Standards, Vol. 2
(ECM, 1985)and the freely improvised Changes
(ECM, 1983)all recorded at a single 1983 sessionset the foundation for one of the premiere bands in the history of jazz, now celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2008.
Since its formal beginnings, the trio has proven to be more than just a cover band. Whenever it approaches a standard tune the group moves beyond mere imitation, and they do so admirably. Recorded on one great night at the 2001 Montreux Jazz Festival, when both the audience and the band were on their best behavior, My Foolish Heart
features nearly two hours of lively, thoughtful and beautiful music. In the liner notes, Jarrett states that this recording shows the trio at its most buoyant, swinging, melodic and dynamicand he is right. The trio plays very much like a seasoned, road-tested band, rather than some supergroup studio project. This only proves that they are, indeed, more than a cover band and probably provide the best definition for committed musicians, making My Foolish Heart
one exhilarating ride.
From the opening notes of Miles Davis' "Four" through the final notes of "Only the Lonely," the band plays with an easy buoyancy and joy. Its take on familiar material including "Straight No Chaser," "Oleo" and "On Green Dolphin Street," intertwined with a variety of techniques, showcases the band's intentionsa new vocabulary for playing standards, rather than a conservative approach.
Jarrett is edgily lyrical and bluesy, and his piano is luxuriously rich throughout. The endlessly adaptable Peacock's rippling, limpid bass provides sensitive accompaniment and some lovely, concise improvising, particularly on tracks including the title track and "What's New." DeJohnette's greatness comes forward in how he works with the beats and the way he rotates and stretches the melodies behind the compositions. This partnership is as tight as it gets, and the fact that they have been playing for so long allows the band room for smart interaction. My Foolish Heart
is really a great album of solid music created by three of today's members of the highest jazz pantheon. The quality of musicianship, the excellent choice of material, and the performance itself are good enough to transport willing listeners into a truly wonderful musical universe.