All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

477

Keith Jarrett: Radiance

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Witnessing anyone overcome adversity can be inspiring, but when someone with a profound talent becomes prematurely disabled, it becomes even more meaningful. When pianist Keith Jarrett was forced to cease touring due to an extended illness that afflicted him in the mid-'90s, fans wondered if he'd ever play again. The release of his '99 home recording, The Melody at Night, With You—while a welcome indication that he may have been down but certainly not out—still showed that he was only gradually returning to strength.

In the ensuing years since that solo effort, Jarrett has restricted his activities to his long-standing Standards Trio. Unsatisfied with previous attempts at returning to the kind of lengthy solo improvisations that produced significant works including The Köln Concerts and Sun Bear Concerts, it certainly appeared that Jarrett might not perform solo ever again.

The good news is that in '02 Jarrett decided to give it another go, with one change: rather than performing a continuous improvisation, he would build his solo concerts from "discrete pieces drawn from each previous piece. The result, Radiance, is an evocative double-disc set that combines the entire performance from Osaka on 10/27/02 with four pieces from a concert in Tokyo a few days later. Any doubts about Jarrett's ability to sustain himself in the bare and exposed context of a completely improvised solo concert are laid to waste by the combination of powerful stream-of-consciousness thinking and remarkable spontaneous composition demonstrated throughout these nearly two-and-a-half hours of music.

Fans who pine for the old days of Jarrett the composer will be pleasantly surprised to find some of his pieces remarkably structured. One might even think, after listening to the delicate and hymnal "Part 3 and "Part 8, that Jarrett could take these pieces and build them into more developed works for his trio. And the fact that pieces of such beauty and form could be pulled from the ether makes them all the more compelling.

Elsewhere, Jarrett is more abstract, with pieces that seem to build tension, sometimes never resolving. And while the performance eschews any real direct ties to the jazz tradition for the most part, revealing equal connections to contemporary classical music, there are some obvious ties, the ninety-second "Part 11 being a prime example with its remarkable bebop vibe.

What makes the entire set so rewarding is Jarrett's incredible sense of intuition. There may be breaks between the pieces, but they so obviously derive from each other that the Osaka concert takes on a larger arc, with the Tokyo pieces a fitting coda. Jarrett seems to know just when to shift from free, intense abstraction to gentle, almost pastoral beauty, and there are few artists today who can structure a solo concert with such a strong sense of narrative and unerring intent.

Radiance is not just a return to form; it's an instant classic of solo improvisation that is destined to rank highly among Jarrett's strongest work.

Visit Universal Classics on the web.

Track Listing: Disc One: Parts 1-9; Disc Two: Parts 10-17

Personnel: Keith Jarrett (piano)

Title: Radiance | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
After the Fall

After the Fall

ECM Records
2018

buy
La Fenice

La Fenice

ECM Records
2018

buy
Hamburg '72

Hamburg '72

ECM Records
2015

buy
Keith Jarrett: Creation

Keith Jarrett:...

ECM Records
2015

buy
Creation

Creation

ECM Records
2015

buy

Related Articles

Read Circulate Susanna CD/LP/Track Review
Circulate Susanna
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 13, 2018
Read Jazzamenco CD/LP/Track Review
Jazzamenco
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 13, 2018
Read You Have Options CD/LP/Track Review
You Have Options
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 13, 2018
Read Heroes, Saints and Clowns CD/LP/Track Review
Heroes, Saints and Clowns
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 13, 2018
Read Bowie, Berlin & Beyond CD/LP/Track Review
Bowie, Berlin & Beyond
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 13, 2018
Read For You CD/LP/Track Review
For You
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 12, 2018
Read "Fine Dining" CD/LP/Track Review Fine Dining
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 29, 2018
Read "Here Today" CD/LP/Track Review Here Today
by Tyran Grillo
Published: December 26, 2017
Read "When It All Makes Sense" CD/LP/Track Review When It All Makes Sense
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 3, 2018
Read "In Stride" CD/LP/Track Review In Stride
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: March 26, 2018
Read "Red Planet" CD/LP/Track Review Red Planet
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 2, 2018
Read "A New Shade Of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review A New Shade Of Blue
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 15, 2017