Today is the 70th birthday of legendary jazz pianist Keith Jarrett. For many listeners, Jarrett’s music is an acquired taste. In fact, it is a taste that some listeners never acquire. They are too easily turned off by Jarrett’s extroverted mannerisms at the piano and his grunting, singing, and vocalizing while playing. For whatever reason, all of those things have never bothered me. I only hear naked musical brilliance when I listen to most of Jarrett’s music.
My favorite Keith Jarrett music is the body of work he created with his so-called “European quartet” which included saxophonist Jan Garbarek, drummer, bassist Palle Danielsson, and drummer Jon Christensen. That particular quartet was a short-lived rocket ride that ascended into musical stratospheremore more often than not on albums like Belonging, My Song, Nude Ants, Personal Mountains, and Sleeper.
Far more long lived is Jarrett’s “Standards trio” with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette. That trio–which has performed together for more than 30 years–has taken their rightful place among the greatest piano trios in the history of jazz and any time they perform it should be considered a major cultural event.
The link below is from a Japanese Standards trio performance in 1993. The song “I Fall in Love too Easily” was popularized by Frank Sinatra and this version contains a beautifully basspirational solo from Peacock and a stunning solo outro by Jarrett. This is sublime music, indeed.
Happy birthday, Mr. Jarrett. Thank you for all of the beautiful music you have provided throughout the years.