Keith Jarrett this weekend. Along with his celebrated Trio (Jack DeJohnette and Gary Peacock) for a two-hour feast of profound eloquence in Music. Recorded by the much-admired France Musique at Juan-Les-Pins, Antibes on July 23rd of 1985.
To say this is a welcome respite from the insanity of this past week would be an understatement – Keith Jarrett has always been one of the innovative, and far reaching pianist of his generation. Equally at home with Classical as well as Jazz, his forays into concert music have been adventures – and even at two hours, this concert feels short.
With a special singing introduction by Bobby McFerrin (himself a celebrated Jazz as well as Classical Artist), he sets up for what is a very special musical evening. Accompanied by his long-time associates, Jack DeJohnette and Gary Peacock, they too the Antibes audience on a luxuriant and sumptuous adventure.
I have to say, as much as I love hearing Keith Jarrett’s studio recordings (of which there are numerous), his live appearances are a different experience. Maybe it’s the energy from the audience – maybe it’s the open space – maybe it’s the adrenalin of the moment and the “flying-without-a-net” feel. Whatever it is, the live recordings have a specialness about them which you can’t duplicate in a studio setting. That’s not to say one side of Jarrett is preferable to another side of Jarrett; they are equally valid and essential in your appreciation of the artist.
Someone once told me that a Musician, whose initial experience of learning an instrument comes via Classical training, isn’t likely to be as at-home in the Jazz idiom as it would be the other way around. Like all forms of music, I think it comes from the point of view of the artist, rather than the essential training. The notes are the notes – the fundamentals are the same – it’s what comes from how they are looked at that’s different. I think it was Lester Young who once said that it was necessary for every musician to learn all the rules, fundamentals and common truths about an instrument – learn the limitations and the strict edicts – commit them all to memory, make them part of your being and then forget them and find yourself.
Keith Jarrett has had the remarkable ability the view Jazz improvisation with the same attitude as a Bach Chorale, and see the inherent similarities in both.
However you approach Jazz, or music in general – the bottom line is to appreciate it in all its forms; don’t limit yourself to one genre or another – sample everything. Become a sponge and absorb as much as you can – you may find yourself gravitating to music you never thought you’d like. The essential, crucial, imperative is to keep an open mind. As Duke Ellington was once purported to have said; “there’s only two kinds of music – good music and bad music”.
Relax, have a listen and discover Keith Jarrett, if you haven’t already. If you already have, you aren’t reading this anyway so . . . .