With saxophonist Jan Garbarek and bassist Charlie Haden along for the ride, Keith Jarrett indulges in three slow, rambling, meditative, vaguely neo-classical concertos for piano and string orchestra. While a few of Jarrett's and Garbarek's passages here and there have a syncopated jazz feeling, this is mostly contemporary classical music, perhaps even somewhat ahead of its time (it might fit in with the neo-Romantic and minimalist camps today). However, although this music can be attractive in small doses, the lack of tempo or texture contrasts over long stretches of time – particularly the nearly 28-minute "Mirrors" – can be annoying if you're not in the right blissful mood. Mladen Gutesha and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra perform the string parts with what can only be described as commendable patience.
Two of vibraphonist Gary Burton's albums from 1969-1970 are reissued in full on this single CD. Burton teams up with pianist Keith Jarrett for five numbers (including four of Jarrett's originals) in 1970, using a quintet that also features guitarist Sam Brown, bassist Steve Swallow, and drummer Bill Goodwin. The other session has more of an avant-country flavor, with Burton, Swallow, and Goodwin joined by guitarist Jerry Hahn and violinist Richard Greene; Michael Gibbs and Swallow contributed most of the obscurities. Burton was at his most explorative during this period, which is why he can be considered one of the pioneers of fusion (although his music never really fit into a tight category). This is excellent music that mostly still sounds fresh.
Through an exploration of his life and work, and close encounters with the man himself, this documentary offers and exceptional opportunity to examine the contrasting worlds of jazz and classical music. Great archival material is interwoven with original and richly detailed filmed interview with Keith, musicians with whom he's collaborated over the years, family members, tour managers, and other close musical and recording associates: Manfred Eicher, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette, Steve Cloud, Scott Jarrett, George Avakian, Charles Lloyd, Gary Burton, Miles Davis, Toshinari Koinuma, Chick Corea, Charlie Haden, Dewey Redman, Rose Anne Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, John Christensen.
Pianist Keith Jarrett goes it alone on The Melody at Night, With You. No stranger to solo recitals, here Jarrett tackles familiar standards along with a few traditional pieces and as we come to expect, the performances are near flawless. Part of the beauty and majesty of it all lies within Jarrett's penchant for understatement and ebullience while possessing an astounding sense of depth and range. Throughout this recording, Jarrett has seemingly decided to forego any semblance of dramatics as he vividly sets the scenario for the listener along with the partner of his or her choice as they may sit in front of a soft burning fire under dim lights.