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.
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.
'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.
Jarrett's wide range of influences is threaded throughout–strains of classical, jazz, pop, and world music are identifiable here and there. As with all his improvised work, there is a great feeling of exhilaration for the listener in discovering–along with his concert audience–where Jarrett will go next. In fact, RADIANCE feels even more open-ended than previous efforts in that it relies less on recurring themes and more on small bits of musical connective tissue, which lead the playing in ever-shifting directions. Yet Jarrett's skill and innate sense of balance and pacing are such that the music rarely feels disjointed, making RADIANCE a rich, thoroughly engaging listening.
Keith Jarrett's first solo acoustic piano recording remains one of his best. At this point in late 1971, Jarrett had just started improvising completely freely. That does not mean that his solos were necessarily atonal but simply that they were not planned in any way in advance. The music on these eight improvisations are often quite melodic, very rhythmic and bluesy. This set makes for a perfect introduction to Jarrett's many solo piano recordings.
Jarrett's 1970s albums may have confused some purists but they should be a goldmine for contemporary fans of all stripes who like improvised music. El Juicio is an excellent early Jarrett album and finds him in typically eclectic form with his classic American quartet. I nominate the opener, "Gypsy Moth," as the best piece on the record. Sounding a little like a more confident version of "Lisbon Stomp," from Jarrett's 1967 debut album Life Between the Exit Signs, Jarrett first whips up a rollicking theme on the piano and then switches to soprano sax towards the end, the rhythm section swinging hard throughout.