Pianist, composer, and bandleader Keith Jarrett is one of the most prolific, innovative, and iconoclastic musicians to emerge from the late 20th century. As a pianist (though that is by no means the only instrument he plays) he literally changed the conversation in jazz by introducing an entirely new aesthetic regarding solo improvisation in concert. Though capable of playing in a wide variety of styles, Jarrett is deeply grounded in the jazz tradition.
Here we have simplicity itself: a series of piano transcriptions of some solemn, now-dark, now-affirmative religious hymns by one G.I. Gurdjieff, with none of the usual flourishes and heady flights usually associated with Keith Jarrett's solo records. Jarrett assumes the proper devotional position, playing with a steady tread but always with attention to dynamic extremes, producing a gorgeously rich piano tone with plenty of bass. The whole record has a serene dignity, even at its loudest levels, that gets to you, and that should be enough for the devout Jarrett following. As for others…well, it's definitely not a top ten choice for a basic Keith collection.
Recorded in Tokyo's Orchard Hall before Japanese royalty and a packed house – and released two years later while Keith Jarrett was out of action suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome – the standards trio lives up to its formidable track record of consistency and then some. Jarrett and perennial cohorts Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette are, if anything, even sharper, swinging harder and more attuned to each other than ever.
ECM celebrates the occasion of pianist Keith Jarrett's 70th birthday with two simultaneous releases. One is a classical date for its New Series on which he performs piano concertos by Béla Bartók and Samuel Barber with two different orchestras. The other is Creation, a solo piano offering. While Jarrett has made dozens of solo records, this is unlike any in his catalog. Rather than document the unfolding of his in-the-moment ideas through a single performance, this set features nine sections compiled from half-a-dozen performances in four cities and five venues (all notated in the sleeve) during 2014.
'Creation' features music selected by Keith Jarrett from his improvised solo concerts recorded in 2014 in Japan, Canada, and Europe. Where in the past the solo documentation has shown the improvisational process unfolding over the course of a single evening, this time Jarrett zeroes in on the most revelatory moments from six concerts in Tokyo, Toronto, Paris and Rome and shapes a new dramaturgy from the intuitive sequencing of the material. With this rewarding departure, Keith Jarrett gives us here the most up-to-the minute account of his spontaneously created music.
This gargantuan package – a ten-LP set now compressed into a chunky six-CD box – once was derided as the ultimate ego trip, probably by many who didn't take the time to hear it all. You have to go back to Art Tatum's solo records for Norman Granz in the '50s to find another large single outpouring of solo jazz piano like this, all of it improvised on the wing before five Japanese audiences in Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Tokyo, and Sapporo. Yet the miracle is how consistently good much of this giant box is.