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Every time I've had the opportunity to see Keith play live I've been STUNNED anew. Nothing can prepare you to hear this man's playing. You think you remember how it sounds in general but when you hear him again live you realize your memory doesn't even come close to the reality of the sound you are hearing. As many times as I've been stunned by the freshness, beauty, originality, scope, breathtaking touch and control of the keyboard that he displays in every note, I must say that last night's concert left me COMPLETELY SHOCKED! Here is a man who is dimensions ahead of the closest human, qualitatively, quantitatively, in every way. It's as if a being from an utterly advanced civilization has dropped onto 7th Ave. I had images of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring concert, I thought the audience could just RIOT at any moment haha!
A good deal of this concert was utterly new sounding music. He also tells you what he is doing, musically, partially to help you to accept the sounds you are about to hear. Last night he said that he was totally tired of everything about traditional music - melody, harmony, etc. He said he was only interested in total dissonance, and that any time he felt a harmony resolving, he would get out of it immediately. He then IMROVISED a completely new music, someplace between tonality, atonality, and God-knows where. All played with that great top melody (sometimes in the middle), layer upon layer of perfectly textured and controlled sound, endless flows of rising and falling emotion, and deep feeling. The Divine perfectly represented in piano-sound.
In addition to the new music, he also played lots of boogies, blues, one ragtimey thing, wild vamps and a standard or two. Let's not talk about the tantrums which were heavy towards the end, (it's like a zig-zagging religious ceremony - first he blesses the audience, then he curses the audience (picture takers), then he blesses the audience again haha!- for they just mean nothing in the face of such display of beautiful sound.
If Keith is within 3000 miles of you giving a concert you won't be sorry that you made the effort to hear him. Lennie Tristano used to tell us that the piano was just a pile of JUNK -strings, bolts, etc., but when Bud Powell played it it was something else. Keith can take that junk and leave you breathless. Thanks Keith, have a cigar man!!
Just to clarify, I think you saw Keith's performance on 2/9/16 not 2014. A simple error.
I am also a huge fan of KJ. If he were to play in Miami or Atlanta (I live in Orlando) I would be looking at attending. He is a musical giant (not just a piano giant in my estimation). He has deep musical insights. He also has major issues personally. He is able to act the prima dona in his life as a great artist. Not necessary, but he believes it, so he does it.
I recently watched him recently on youTube receiving a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts award. He said he travels with a special mattress to sleep on. He has back/neck problems and chiropractors deriving from his physical gyrations when he plays. He has convinced himself that this is a manifestation of his creative process.
I also read an account once of a guy who said he shared an elevator with KJ in Tokyo. He said he told KJ that he had been a huge fan for many years. He said Keith simply ignored him, just staring ahead. Whether this story is true or not, it falls in line with Keith's behavior.
None of this behavior makes rational sense. Like religion, it is imaginary. But Keith believes it is all part of his creative process. So be it. His music will be listened to and marveled at 50 years from now when he's long been gone from the planet.
I have grown tired of his solo recording releases, but as I've said before, I think this is my own shortcoming, not Keith's. I myself would like to see him begin another path musically. Whatever that might be.
He has back/neck problems and chiropractors deriving from his physical gyrations when he plays. He has convinced himself that this is a manifestation of his creative process. ...None of this behavior makes rational sense. Like religion, it is imaginary. But Keith believes it is all part of his creative process. .
Don't agree. This applies to body language during the performance, and it is completely personal. At Thelonious Monk it is expressed in the movement of the legs, especially the right; and if his feet where tied to the legs the chair, Monk certainly would refuse to play. I once analyzed the body movements ofJarrett and his phrasing - relation is clearly visible and audible. When asked about these movements Jarrett replied that It has emerged from itself in adolescence.
Nahum Said: "Don't agree. This applies to body language during the performance, and it is completely personal. At Thelonious Monk it is expressed in the movement of the legs, especially the right; and if his feet where tied to the legs the chair, Monk certainly would refuse to play. I once analyzed the body movements ofJarrett and his phrasing - relation is clearly visible and audible. When asked about these movements Jarrett replied that It has emerged from itself in adolescence."
I recently read an interview question to KJ. He was asked why he didn't vocalize (his trademark hoots, hollers and moans) when he played classical music. He said he was "trained" not to do it by conductors. If he was trained by conductors not to moan an so forth, it would appear it wasn't necessary. I don't have a problem with vocalizations during improvisation. I don't even have a problem with him wrecking his back and neck. It's just that is not truly necessary. It's not even necessary for the rudeness he exhibits in many situations. He probably had negative examples set by a parent or some such childhood situation.
None of this invalidates the quality and value of his music. Only lessens him as a fellow human being. All his study into the metaphysical and his treatment of people, at least in many situations, don't add up.
Thanks for the review. I also really like Keith Jarrett's playing, since I first heard the Belonging album way bak in music school. I've never had a chance to see him live, however. I'd like to as long as I didn't have any trace of a cold.
I grew up loving the Kohlhn concert, the My Song album, Azimuth and a bunch of his other works... and the standards trio from the past several decades. So why did I decline a free pair for tickets to his show here in a month? He still plays some of the most beautiful solo piano ballads ever... but his straight ahead jazz playing is not especially interesting to me these days. He has a swing feel that leaves me cold, his lines start to sound a bit esoteric ...and those drawn out gospel numbers, he's not especially soulful with them, imo. And his eccentricities.... I would rather stay at home and play for myself.
So why did I decline a free pair for tickets to his show here in a month? He still plays some of the most beautiful solo piano ballads ever... but his straight ahead jazz playing is not especially interesting to me these days. He has a swing feel that leaves me cold, his lines start to sound a bit esoteric ...and those drawn out gospel numbers, he's not especially soulful with them, imo. And his eccentricities.... I would rather stay at home and play for myself.
This well-known phenomenon of our time: a glut of excess of information that you get with ease. Once upon a time the great Bach went to another town to hear Buxtehude...
"Dieterich Buxtehude was a Danish-German organist and composer of the Baroque period. His organ works represent a central part of the standard organ repertoire and are frequently performed at recitals and in church services. Wikipedia Born: 1637, Helsingborg, Sweden Died: May 9, 1707, Lübeck, Germany
I saw KJ both last week (2/9/16) and the year before at CH. Last year he actually brought note to his own arrogance toward fans and stated that he was turning over a new leaf. "So don't choke trying to hold back that cough" he joked. At that point someone faked a cough and he, with the audience, started to laugh. I think its a more mellowed KJ up there.
I'm with Dave on this and believe Jarrett to be a genius. I've seen him couple of times, once solo and once with the standards trio. Of the two the solo performance was the more memorable. This was at the Royal Festival Hall in London in the early 90s. I was sitting in the choir seats behind the stage, so was literally only 10ft from the Piano. At one point he was playing a beautiful quiet improvised section and somebody coughed. Oh dear! A tantrum ensued, and then when he started playing again he played the most wonderful gospel influenced Piano. So I saw both sides of him.
Curiously one of my other Piano heros is Oscar Peterson. From what I gather he and Jarrett had little time for each other. I read an interview with Oscar just recently, which dated from the late 70s I think. He was asked what he thought of Jarrett's mammoth Sun Bear Concerts set. Oscar said "He's kiddin'" and basically didn't accept there was any justification for what Jarrett was doing in those recordings, and as I recall effectively said he could do what Jarrett was doing - if he wanted to.
I've read many interviews with Keith as well and he never really mentions Oscar as a great Pianist.
Quite sad really as in their own ways both were/are among the greatest ever.
As somebody else mentioned there are quite a few (ok a lot) of great Jarrett albums to get, but if I had to have only one (and without going upstairs to look at my CD collection) I'd have Belonging.
Sorry this is 2 years late but I'm slowly catching up on interesting topics!
Simon Yamaha CLP535 Grade 6 Piano a long time ago, Grade 4 Guitar an even longer time ago, Tenor Sax, just awful. ""It's taken me all my life to learn what not to play."
I expect KJ is more an admirer of the originators. My impression of OPeterson is that he came along and played mainstream jazz (pretty much) better than anyone else. But in this interview he mentions Monk, Bley, Erroll Garner, Tatum.
He says (in the interview) for instance that Erroll Garner is much more important than most give him credit for. He also says Art Tatum plays too many notes too often. I agree with both of these sentiments.
This interview is from 2009. The interviewer is Ethan Iverson of the Bad Plus.