Jazz music, news and views

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Melody at Night, With You


In his latest NY Times article, Nate Chinen tags along as Keith Jarrett makes notes on his most recent recording, a live solo performance at Carnegie Hall exactly one year ago today. A glimpse into the pianist's uniquely self-analytical mind:
Months after the concert, when Mr. Jarrett listened to a playback for the first time, he took notes intended to serve as a reference guide during his production of the album. His comments on the first track, scrawled in ink on an unlined sheet of paper, read: “atonal rhythmic multilayered,” “linear,” and “voiced very NYC, via American avant-garde.”

The sequencing of his performances has always been a point of pride for Mr. Jarrett, whether it involves choosing standards for his trio or shaping the direction of a solo improvisation. So he was scrutinizing his notes by request, as a means of charting his thematic movement through the concert. The hope was that a track-by-track self-analysis -- his first time trying such an exercise with a journalist, he said -- would reveal something about the internal logic of the performance.
Read the full story here, and listen to the audio samples with some explanation by Chinen. There is a full-length version of "The Good America."

Indeed, The Carnegie Hall Concert has a loose and lyrical logic to it, and his playing is especially fresh and bright. The actual concert is an improvisation in ten parts (each of which are relatively compact compared to his more sprawling solo recitals) plus five encore pieces including a revisitation of "My Song" and a lush reading of "Time on My Hands." It hits the streets today. Buy it.

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