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?