Keith Jarrett, The Koln Concert (1975)
Now this is what I consider a time-capsule album. I first heard it many years ago and it’s getting better all the time; with every listen. Recently I was at a friend’s house and I heard that unmistakable Keith Jarrett phrasing as soon as I walked in the door. He was playing The Koln Concert. Recently I purchased a CD copy for my father-in-law. Recently I purchased a very nice (great condition) second-hand double-LP for myself as I’d lost the CD copy from years ago. So it’s been getting a lot of listening. It’s the perfect album to play in our den. Glass of wine and all of that. But it is – for me – the perfect album to get caught up in. It’s a beautiful performance to just sit and take in; impossible of course to take in the full breadth and depth of it in a single sitting. It’s a work that stays with you – that grows. You catch yourself with spiralling melodies in your head, later, when you’re listening to anything else. You find yourself astonished by the back-story: Jarrett hated travelling at the best of times and arrived, tired and hungry, to perform for a woefully underprepared first-time promoter. The piano that Jarrett assumed was a small rehearsal instrument only was in fact the tool for the main event. Frustrated, he poured his heart and soul out through his fingers. You hear it in the signature ostinatos, in the signature rhythm playing; you heard it in those signature grunts! And in the spaces between the notes (and in fact in the spaces after the grunts). It’s a stunning piece of jazz, a stunning piece of classical – it’s so many things from the worlds that sit in between. And finally it’s an amazing piece of improvisation. It’s made it in to my Top 10 records of all time and would easily be my new desert island disc.
Sample Track: Part 1 (1/3)
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