Keith Jarrett, piano; Charlie Haden, doublebass – Last Dance [TrackList follows] – ECM (2 vinyls)

Keith Jarrett, piano; Charlie Haden, doublebass – Last Dance [TrackList follows] – ECM 2399 378 2250 (2 vinyls) [11/10/14] (Distr. by Universal) *****:

This is the LP version of the recently-reviewed Last Dance CD. Jeff Krow reviewed that here, and I would suggest reading that first.  The title refers to this being the last recording for bassist Charlie Haden, who passed away shortly thereafter. The session was recorded in Jarrett’s home studio but is still up to the high technical standards of all of ECM’s  releases. Jarrett plays with both this duo and his trio a quite lyrical, more laid back style than he was doing earlier in his career—such as The Köln Concert, which by the way became the best-selling solo piano album ever.

The first of the four vinyl sides is nearly 20 minutes, but the other three are shorter. I only heard a couple of soft surface noises that would indicate this was coming from vinyl instead of a CD, and that was with listening to one of the two discs entirely on my AKG headphones, which would normally emphasize any surface noise. I probably should have had the CD at hand to be able to do an A/B comparison, which I didn’t, but especially on good headphones I don’t see how the vinyl version could not be somewhat better sonically.  The piano sound was extremely natural and Jarrett’s usual vocal sounds were at a minimum.  But the biggest sonic plus was the glorious sound of Haden’s bass, which came thru even in the very lowest notes better than any bass line I’ve heard from CDs. I do notice that on speakers Jarrett’s vocal accompaniments are almost not there. Nothing like many of his other albums or Glenn Gould for that matter.

TrackList: My Old Flame, My Ship, Round Midnight, Dance of the Infidels, It Might as Well Be Spring, Everything Happens to Me, Where Can I Go Without You, Every Time We Say Goodbye, Goodbye

—John Henry

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