Friday, December 30, 2005

Up For It - Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette

Just before the Christmas flurry gathered to a full roar, my friend handed me a pastel-blue CD. "It's the Keith Jarrett trio. You familiar with them?"

I shook my head. "Not really."

"Well," said my friend, "they're all getting on in years, but they've been doing their thing for nearly three decades. This CD is a concert they gave in Juan-les-Pins, France, after they'd all had a very bad year -- cancer, debilitating arthritis, Chronic Fatigue ... the sort of stuff you get in your middle years.

"The concert itself was literally a wash. Endless rain, on a stage that had very little by way of cover for the performers. And I guess Jarrett sat down with the other two, and asked what they thought. And not one of them wanted to go on out there and play, which was unprecedented for this group.

"Anyhow, Jarrett was quite rattled by all this, so he picked up his cup of coffee, and stepped outside to look at the weather. It was still raining, but just on the horizon there was enough of a break in the clouds, he could see just a peek of the sun. He came back inside and told the others, 'I think we should play.' So they got to their feet, went out on stage in the pouring rain and played this ... amazing ... concert."

I took the CD home with me, and that's what I've been listening to pretty much non-stop for the last week. Inspired, inspirational, transcendant ... are there any superlatives I'm missing?

Available here.


Rob in Victoria said...

Jarrett is one of the good ones -- the sort with a purity of vision and a willingness to stir up the shit when it needs stirring. Once you've absorbed this one, I'd turn your attention to The Cure, At the Deer Head and Bye Bye Blackbird. And then the huge Live At the Blue Note.

And if you're feeling intense and cerebral, you should try out some of the Jarrett solo albums. Pure improvisation - apparently he meditates prior to taking the stage, emptying his mind of preconceptions and plans, starting from a musical tabula rasa, with often breathtaking results. The Koln Concert is the classic.

Whisky Prajer said...

Whoa - glad I did my research! When I first saw "The Cure", my mind harkened immediately back to the morose band of my late adolescence. Jarrett might be prone to dark moods of his own, but I'll take his cure over pretty much anybody else's. These are leads I'll certainly be following.

Rob in Victoria said...

I'm partial to The Cure for the title track, a wonderful, churning, ten minute piece that somehow blends raga with the classic jazz trio... Good music to write to.