Marcus Miller (born William Henry Marcus Miller, Jr.; June 14, 1959) is an American jazz composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, best known as a bass guitarist. Throughout his career, Miller worked with trumpeter Miles Davis, pianist Herbie Hancock, singer Luther Vandross, and saxophonist David Sanborn, as well as maintaining a successful solo career. Miller is classically trained as a clarinetist and also plays keyboards, saxophone and guitar.
Wanda Landowska brought the Goldbergs out of hiding on the harpsichord in the '40s and Glenn Gould made them a bonafide hit on the piano in the '50s, opening the floodgates for keyboardists of all stripes. So, in one of his earlier recorded voyages into the classical world, Keith Jarrett is up against an imposing legacy as he tackles what has become the most famous set of variations in Western music. First, he chooses to play them on a double-manual harpsichord – which makes the task somewhat easier, avoiding the finger-tangling cross hand difficulties that can trip up a piano performance.
Book One of the Well-Tempered Clavier is performed on the piano while Book Two is performed on the harpsichord. His tempos are very fast, and he has a certain sense of humor that comes through in all his performances, making what might seem academic, warm and accessible. Highly recommended - and check out Jarrett's other classical recordings for other delights just as great.
Keith Jarrett is such a fine musician that he, as a composer as well as a performer and a jazz interpreter as well as a classics interpreter, knows when to simply let the written notes be played the way they were written. His Bach is very straightforward: yes, he embellishes in keeping with the indications and musical period of Bach, but he never lets the embellishments sound as though they should call attention to the performer. Book One of the Well-Tempered Clavier is performed on the piano while Book Two is performed on the harpsichord.
Keith Jarrett is incredibly gifted both as a painist and as a harpsichordist. That he chose the harpsichord for his rendition of the Golberg Variations suggests that he found it capable of rendering a closer approximation of his ideal interpretation of these works. Hearing it is indeed a great joy!
Jarrett plays brilliantly.
Personally, I love Jarrett's playing; he is one of the most sensitive and lyrical of contemporary pianists, and his long illness has deprived us of what would surely have been a larger body of baroque music recordings. So make your own mind up.
I highly recommend this collection to lovers of Bach, Jarrett and the diabolical harpsichord.