Keith Jarrett has recorded quite a few albums with his "Standards Trio," which also features bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette, and virtually all of their releases are enjoyable. The music that they create is in some ways an update of the type of interplay that took place between Bill Evans and his sidemen, where all three musicians often act as equals (although Jarrett, like Evans, has most of the solo space). An uptempo "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing" is a surprising highpoint of this disc but also quite memorable are "All of You," "Old Folks" and "How About You?"; none of the eight performances from the concert appearance are throwaways. Jarrett's vocal sounds are more restrained than usual while his piano playing is in peak form.
While still a member of the Charles Lloyd Quartet, Keith Jarrett did some occasional moonlighting with a trio, anchored by two future members of Jarrett's classic quartet, Charlie Haden (bass) and Paul Motian (drums). On this CD, Jarrett turns in a very eclectic set at Shelly's Manne-Hole in Hollywood, careening through a variety of idioms where his emerging individuality comes through in flashes. He covers Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages" - which actually came out as a single on the Vortex label - in an attractive, semi-funky style reminiscent of Vince Guaraldi. "Pretty Ballad" delivers a strong reflective dose of Bill Evans, while "Moving Soon" is chaotic free jazz. By the time we reach "New Rag," we begin to hear the distinctive Jarrett idiom of the later trios, but then, "Old Rag" is knockabout stride without the stride. As an example of early, unfocused Jarrett, this is fascinating material.
Keith Jarrett's numerous volumes of improvised solo piano recordings are all treasure troves of spontaneous music making. Documented since the 1970s, they reveal the opening of his music as it readily embraces classical and sacred music influences, filters out what is unnecessary in his technique, and encounters the depth and breadth of the jazz tradition and his own unique abilities as a composer. The four discs in A Multitude of Angels were recorded in as many Italian cities during the last week of October 1996 – some 20 months after the concert captured on La Scala.
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.
This gargantuan package – a ten-LP set now compressed into a chunky six-CD box – once was derided as the ultimate ego trip, probably by many who didn't take the time to hear it all. You have to go back to Art Tatum's solo records for Norman Granz in the '50s to find another large single outpouring of solo jazz piano like this, all of it improvised on the wing before five Japanese audiences in Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Tokyo, and Sapporo. Yet the miracle is how consistently good much of this giant box is.
Recorded at his home studio in 1986, the double album No End illuminates hitherto undocumented aspects of Keith Jarrett's music. He is heard on electric guitars, electric bass, drums and percussion, overdubbing tribal dances of his own devising: "Somehow something happened during these days in the 80s that won't ever be repeated," he writes in his liner notes. "There was really, to my knowledge, no forethought or composition - in the typical sense - going on; just a feeling or a rhythmic idea or a bass line concept or melody. None of this was written down."