I don’t normally post on Wednesdays.* But today’s special. First, there’s, um…this. Celebrate accordingly.
It’s also Keith Jarrett’s birthday. One of my all-time favorite musicians in any genre, Jarrett is a remarkable multi-instrumentalist and piano virtuoso whose playing could perhaps best be described as sort of an angular lyricism informed by a distinctly American blend of classical, jazz, blues, folk, and gospel.
A Jarrett performance is just as likely to elicit a sense of visceral joy as it is to astonish with technical brilliance – depending on whether it’s a live solo improvisation, a performance with his Standards Trio, a duet with the late Charlie Haden, or an interpretation of the compositions of Armenian mystic G. I. Gurdjieff. In a word? It’s sublime.
Not to mention influential:
“‘Long as You Know You’re Living Yours,” from Belonging (ECM, 1974). Jan Garbarek, tenor and soprano saxophones; Keith Jarrett, piano; Palle Danielsson, double-bass; Jon Christensen, drums.
Steely Dan, “Gaucho,” from Gaucho (MCA, 1980).
Notice the resemblance? Jarrett sure did. He sued, and ended up with a co-writing credit and a share of the royalties.
Anyway, if you’re new to this stuff, check out The Köln Concert (1975, ECM). That’s pretty much everyone’s gateway Keith Jarrett album. After that, you could go in any one of a number of musical directions, all of which are deeply satisfying. Do yourself a favor and check him out.
*Long ago, the suits upstairs mandated a strict four-post-a-week maximum, lest I overwhelm readers with my awesomeness.