Keith Jarrett, solo piano

by | May 21, 2005 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Keith Jarrett, solo piano – Radiance – (Recorded live in Osaka & Tokyo, 2002) ECM 1960/61 (2 discs) ****:

month is Jarrett’s 60th birthday, and it marks the release of this
album of his famous solo improvisations which is the first such in
nearly a decade. Jarrett had announced earlier that he probably would
not return to the solo piano format since it required much more of his
energy and physical/mental work than did the safety-net of his piano
trio. Jarrett has been battling chronic fatigue syndrome for some years

But he changed his mind in 2002 and these
two concerts are the sonic results. He made a change in approach this
time. Instead of the continuous improvisations of his earlier concert
series, he develops some contrasting melodic and textual material and
creates an improvised suite made up of discrete pieces drawn from each
previous piece. The later Tokyo concert, for example, fulfills the
structural implications of the material heard in the Osaka concert. Yet
he reports in his liner notes that he had in mind letting some of the
music just happen to him without sitting there deep in thought. Each of
the two CDs has eight or nine parts ranging from a minute or two to as
long as 14 minutes. Sound is up to ECMs normal high standards of piano
reproduction, the audience is deathly quiet (as most audiences outside
of the U.S. seem to be), and Jarrett’s famous vocal utterances are also
quieter than in the past. My favorite of the solo series is still his
Solo-Concerts Bremen/Lausanne, but it’s exciting to have him feeling
well enough to continue the new without-a-net style of improvisations.

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