This was the first appearance of the Keith Jarrett’s Standards trio with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette in London since 2003, and the Royal Festival Hall was packed. The length of the applause which greeted the trio as they arrived onstage seemed to take even Jarrett himself by surprise.
I’m not really used to this level of sheer devotion and adulation. The man on my left was explaining triumphantly to his bemused companion, and later to me, exactly by what means he had been able to get such good seats. She disappeared rather early. My companion to my right found Jarrett’s gyrating “all a bit odd” but loved the music. I particularly enjoyed the trio’s delicate unfolding of Gershwin’s I’ve got a crush on you (played in F..) . And it is hard not to be in awe of the commanding presence at the drums of Jack deJohnette, especially when given the chance to stretch out , as in the extended open section over dominant pedal at the end of Autumn Leaves.
Jarrettists are in the zone, they take their man very seriously. Take a look at the unofficial keithjarrett.org website, you’ll see what I mean.
It does have useful , current things- eg details of the Jazz on 3 interview , broadcast while I was away (2 days left to listen) . And of the next triple solo CD. But get the completism: here are details of every gig since 1967.
The gig becomes such an occasion, a holy event. I noticed that the trio left the stage at the end of the last, extended “official” number – Butch and Butch by Oliver Nelson- with their hands aloft in prayer.
Last night , however, Jarrett, Peacock and deJohnette also definitely repaid the adulation , and gave no fewer than four encores, including an extended Holliday/Herzog God Bless the Child, with a bass solo by Peacock of great fluency and beauty.
I have a message for London-based lovers of Jarrett I would say: make a mental note to get out and hear Liam Noble or Barry Green at least once. Give them the same level of listening you gave Jarrett last night. Either Liam Noble or Barry Green will take you on a similar journey. You will not be disappointed. I’d like to give you a Victor Kiam “or your money back” guarantee, but I know I won’t need to.