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My Two Cents. I read with great interest David Adler’s review of The Melody at Night, With You in the December issue of AAJ. I have very much enjoyed Jarrett’s Standards Trio recordings ( Still Live ) and his quasi-New Age musings ( The Koln Concert ). But as fine as these recordings may be, Jarrett’s annoying vocalizations during his performances all but make one throw up his or her hands. That is why, when Mr. Adler reassured the reader that “...There’s almost no vocalizing or grunting...”, I took the bait and purchased this very fine disc.
Jarrett’s performance of this collection of standards is careful and thoughtful. Absent are any technical elaborations or displays of virtuosity. Jarrett, perhaps forced by chronic fatigue syndrome, has distilled his playing to the bare essence—that of melody. He embellishes little, choosing to frame these famous aires with simple harmonies. The tempi are ballad slow on all pieces, giving these American Masterpieces the feel of Edward McDowell miniatures. Almost nocturne in quality, Jarrett’s presentation is at once ethereal and deliberate.
Recommendation. This disc is a must for all solo jazz piano buffs. Its quiet honesty puts it easily in the same league with Bill Evans’ piano soliloquies on the Solo Sessions (Fantasy/Milestone). This is a beautifully introspective recording that bears many listenings.
Track Listing: I Loves You Porgy; I Got It Bad And That Ain
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.