Thanks to ECM for furnishing two pages of text in the note booklet this time around. It’s a statement from Keith Jarrett about his having held on to this live recording made in 2001 at the Montreux Jazz Festival “until the right moment presented itself.” Evidently at least part of what made this the right moment was that January of 2008 will mark the 25th anniversary of the “Standards” Trio. (A 3-CD boxed set of the trio’s 1983 recordings is being reissued simultaneously.) All five CDs are a strong testament to jazz improvisation based strictly on jazz standards rather than original compositions, and displaying the unequaled improvisational capabilities of what has come to be regarded as the leading piano trio in modern jazz today.
Jarrett feels that on this particular night of July 22, 2001, the trio was playing much better than they ever had – in spite of his grousing about problems of heat, lighting and PA sound. To quote: “If jazz is about swinging, energy, and personal ecstasy for the player and listener, I can think of no other single concert by the trio that expresses these qualities so completely and comprehensively.”
The addition of these three tracks makes the evening a sort of celebratory history of jazz in sound. The other of the 13 tracks include music from jazz masters Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Monk, and Gerry Mulligan, plus sparkling contributions to the Great American Songbook by Victor Young, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers and Sammy Cahn. The piano sound is rich and present, up to the normal ECM achievements in that area, and both the bass and drums are cleanly reproduced with a presence and accuracy often missing from live concert recordings. Never mind Jarrett’s grouses about the PA sound – listeners may well have grouses about Keith’s own sounds, which – unlike Glenn Gould or some other jazz musicians – seem to have no relation to the music being played and often sounds like yelps of pain.
TrackList: Four, My Foolish Heart, Oleo, What’s New?, The Song Is You, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Honeysuckle Rose, You Took Advantage of Me, Straight No Chaser, Five Brothers, Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry, Green Dolphin Street, Only the Lonely.
– John Henry