Monday, February 17, 2014

Keith Jarrett: concerts and experiments

1981 Concerts: Bregenz - München 
1986 No End: Solo / Band
Hans Koert

It is one of my secret loves …… Keith Jarrett’s Köln Concert …. The 2lp album is always within arm reach ..... to relax - to retrospect the day .....  An epoch in modern jazz. Made in conditions of exceptional difficulty, on a bad sounding piano, it is one of the most beautiful concerts by Keith Jarrett .. that is still entrancing listeners more than 30 years ago …. ( Richard Cook – Brian Morton in the  Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings).  

Recently my collection of Keith Jarrett albums has been enlarged with two great ECM releases ……. both from the 1980s

( ECM 127-29)

The first album I love to point to, has three cds with two concerts …. The first one in Bregenz, May 28th, 1981 and the second and third in München, recorded a few days later (June 2nd).

Keith Jarrett (photo ECM)

In its notes Keith explains how he grew up with the piano …. How he learned the language of the piano while he learned to speak, although he believes that the language of the piano is more complete, more subtle, more vital  than words …..  It all started, as Peter Rüedi unearthed from the archives,  with two Keith Jarrett solos as played during a Hermosa Beach live session at the famous Lighthouse with an Art Blakey group which featured  the leader on drums accompanied by trumpet player Chuck Magnione, saxophone player Frank Mitchell, Reggie Johnson on bass and a young Keith Jarrett at the piano  ….  Leonard Feathers reviewed the live recording album Buttercorn Lady which had two Keith Jarrett solos, which contained in them the entire history of the jazz piano …… as Feathers stated.
(photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Keith Jarrett’s career with the  Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, the Charley Lloyd Quartet and Miles Davis'  Band will be unmentioned here ….. In 1971 he met Manfred Fischer of the ECM label and since that he became one of the most successful artists of the label … with his solo performances, first at the studios, later mostly in theatres all around Europe ….  His best solo concerts seem to be, as he has said once, those  .... when I have only the slightest notion of what I’m  going to play at the next moment

The great box Keith Jarrett Concerts Bregenz - München has an extensive booklet with notes by Keith Jarrett and an informative article by Peter Rüerdi, originally in German ( Der Magier und die Gaukler), but also in an English translation as The Magician and the Jugglers. 

  • I always wonder why reviewers and jazz journalists need so many words, most in purple prose, to describe Jarrett's sound - the almost hypnotic effects of Keith’s music.  Let the music speak for itself.  Enjoy part of the München concert ....

The second ECM album was released last fall as Keith Jarrett – No End. In fact a complete different album that the one mentioned above. 

(ECM 2361/62)

Keith recollects how he grew up in the 1960s during the golden days of hippie-dom – how they gathered in the Golden Gate Park in Boston, where he studied, but short, at the Berklee School of Music, to play with friends .. under a certain tree …. With a group of players who brought their instruments. No money was involved, Keith remembers,  .. People walked by and listened or not. It was a rare kind of freedom, I remembered so much about when I listen to ….. No End!

The 2cd album contains home studio recordings from the mid 1980s when Keith experimented with some other instruments but the piano ( although it's still there), like the electric guitars, Fender bass, drums and that kind of instruments …  But, as said .... he ddin't left the piano out on this compilation album ….  
These private inspirations are experiments, simply numbered from I up to XX ….  A unique document for the real Keith Jarrett fan, but if you expect to find another great bunch of piano tracks, like in the before mentioned  albums, you’ll have a rude awaking ….. 

A historical important album, especially for the devoted Keith Jarrett collectors …….  

Hans Koert

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I wonder why reviewers and jazz journalists need so many words, most in purple prose, to describe the sound - the almost hypnotic effects of Keith Jarretts music.  Let the music speak for itself.  ECM recently released two great albums: Keith Jarrett Concerts Bregenz - München and No End: Solo / Band.  Two great releases. The former one of Keith Jarretts best solo piano concerts and the latter a 1986 experiment by Keith Jarrett playing other instruments but the piano ....  

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