, , , , , , ,

At least since the 1960’s, Keith Jarrett (1945 – ) has been at
the forefront of Jazz pianists. However, his music making has
not been confined to that genre, and it encompasses Classical
music as well. As a performance and composition prodigy,
Jarrett became famous while playing in Charles Lloyd’s (1938 – )
Quartet between 1960 and 1969, and he also played electric
piano and electric organ with Miles Davis. However since that
time, it appears that he has eschewed electronic instruments
in favor of the acoustic piano. During the 1970’s, Jarrett
began giving solo recitals and collaborating with various Jazz
greats, such as bassist Charlie Haden (1937-2014),
saxophonist Dewey Redman (1931-2006) and drummer
Paul Motian (1931-2011).

I recently finished watching a Jarrett solo recital from 1984
entitled, “Keith Jarrett: Last Solo.” It was released during
2002 under the Image Entertainment/Eagle Vision label. Like
most of Jarrett’s recitals, this one was divided into two
improvised parts, each of which was continuous without
a break. The recital consisted of “Tokyo ’84 #1,”
“Tokyo ’84 #2” and two encores, “Somewhere Over the
Rainbow,” and “Tokyo ’84 Encore.”

These recordings were reminiscent of other Jarrett
improvisations that I’d heard. While they couldn’t be easily
classified as either Jazz or Classical music, they consisted of
elements of both genres. In fact at times, his compositional
style almost fell into the New Age category, and I believe
Jarrett has referred to it as “Universal Folk” music. At any
rate, although parts of these pieces were beautiful, I found
them rather boring, most of the time. Nevertheless, his
five-minute rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”
was quite nice. I’d love to hear Jarrett perform works that
he’s recorded by Johann Sebastian Bach or Dmitri

I must admit that I was also distracted by Jarrett’s facial
contortions and physical gyrations, as well as his audible
squealing. In this sense, he does play like a man possessed.
Imagine Glenn Gould and Joe Cocker on steroids! I found
it to be utterly ridiculous.

In 2000, I saw a live performance of the Jarrett Trio
featuring bassist Gary Peacock (1935 – ) and drummer
Jack DeJohnette (1942 – ). At that time, the music was
more interesting, because Jarrett didn’t have to carry the
entire show alone.

The sound quality and camerawork on this DVD were fine,
and Jarrett fans will want to check it out. But for me, I’d
much rather experience Jarrett’s collaborations with other
players. This stuff is just too boring.