The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - John McBeath

Keith Jar­rett ECM/Fuse LE­GIONS of fol­low­ers of Amer­i­can pi­anist Keith Jar­rett will be over­joyed at this re­lease, the first from his famed stan­dards trio since Yes­ter­days, recorded in 2001 but re­leased in 2009. The new al­bum con­tin­ues with the trio’s long­stand­ing mem­bers, bassist Gary Pea­cock and drum­mer Jack DeJohnette. Fans might have been won­der­ing if the mag­nif­i­cent trio, af­ter 30 years to­gether, had de­cided to stop re­leas­ing al­bums. Some­where, recorded live in the Lucerne Con­cert Hall in Switzer­land in 2009, ban­ishes all doubts as the trio bril­liantly rein­ter­prets six stan­dards. Jar­rett is a rel­a­tively rare mu­si­cian on sev­eral counts: as a child prodigy he be­gan study­ing pi­ano aged three and gave his first solo per­for­mance at the age of 11; he’s a pro­lific com­poser who has played with a who’s who of jazz lu­mi­nar­ies in­clud­ing Art Blakey, Charles Lloyd, Char­lie Haden and Miles Davis. He also is ac­tive play­ing and com­pos­ing Euro­pean clas­si­cal mu­sic, and spent all of 1984 ex­clu­sively play­ing and com­pos­ing or­ches­tral clas­si­cal works. The new al­bum comes com­plete with all of Jar­rett’s trade­marks: lengthy, in­spired in­tros and co­das; ef­fort­less mo­bile in­ven­tion; and his some­times ir­ri­tat­ing lit­tle cries. Ev­ery track is a stand­out, but the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Stars Fell on Alabama is note­wor­thy: af­ter a ru­bato open­ing Jar­rett man­ages to build, with sym­pa­thetic as­sis­tance from bass and drums, a su­perbly ex­pres­sive theme and solo into a swing­ing bal­lad her­alded by Pea­cock’s dis­cur­sive bass solo. There are two songs from Leonard Bern­stein’s 1957 show West Side Story: first Some­where roams widely as pi­ano and bass cir­cum­nav­i­gate the theme, ever so slowly stok­ing the ten­sion across 20 min­utes into an ex­tended, im­pro­vised, groov­ing coda that Jar­rett has en­ti­tled Every­where. The other Bern­stein piece, Tonight, is taken up-tempo, the fastest in the col­lec­tion, and fea­tures Jar­rett’s seem­ingly end­less high-speed flow of in­stant ideas as Pea­cock and DeJohnette drive it pow­er­fully along, DeJohnette tak­ing a smart solo. An in­verted un­ac­com­pa­nied, jab­bing se­quence from Jar­rett in­tro­duces Be­tween the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea at a medium tempo, em­ploy­ing clever in­te­grated play be­tween pi­ano and drums as the theme is es­tab­lished. Af­ter fast, cas­cad­ing pi­ano tre­ble runs the bass takes a swing­ing solo climb­ing into the in­stru­ment’s higher reg­is­ter, fol­lowed by a se­ries of ex­ul­tant eight-bar pi­ano and drum ex­changes. Clos­ing track is Jimmy Van Heusen’s lovely bal­lad I Thought About You, in which a pen­sive, latenight at­mos­phere per­vades as Jar­rett takes many op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­tend and em­bel­lish the song’s rich har­monies. Again Pea­cock cre­ates a sub­lime solo of pro­found ex­pres­sion by us­ing the res­o­nant bass’s tense up­per reg­is­ter, fol­lowed by the re­lease of a quick down­ward pas­sage. This al­bum dis­plays the mag­i­cal em­pa­thy be­tween th­ese mu­si­cians and reestab­lishes Jar­rett’s stan­dards en­sem­ble, with its uniquely gifted leader, as one of the top level jazz pi­ano trios.

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