LIVE: Keith Jarrett- quick review…

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.

Categories: miscellaneous

5 replies »

  1. Ian Latham takes me to task:

    “Why don't you review the gig? You seem more interested in the audience! When I read the above, it's not clear to me whether you thought it was any good or not. Or are you saying that you didn't get it?”

    Fair point. I did enjoy it in parts. Which I described. But there was a particular ambiance to this gig. Which I also described.

    I'll readily admit- however- that Peter Bacon has done a more thorough job at the jazzbreakfast blog:


  2. Spent evening yesterday chez Tobin/Robson with the aforementioned Noble and Green. Also had a chance for a real catch-up with Barry on the train back from Margate.
    What both these musicians are able to do is totally understand their jazz history, understand how to play within any group but still make one realise that you are listening to Barrt Green or Liam Noble. It's as much a thrill for both of them also to play and hear their peers, such as Peter King or Bobby Wellins, as their contemporaries, such as Phil Robson or Ingrid Laubrock.
    This is clearly also something that Jarrett does too. Barry wonders if some of the students studying today spend too much time trying to learn from Tim Berne or Craig Taborn but not enough time checking on these guys' influences too.

  3. Peter wrote:

    Just read your review of Keith Jarrett, spot on as usual. I shall try Liam Noble and Barry Green.

    What was the second song of the first set please: was it Gershwin's I've got a crush on you? The first song was “Tonight” and after that it was only Autumn Leaves before the interval.

    I've got to say Jack deJohnette did not do it for me last night: I was expecting to be taken somewhere by the vamps but they just didn't push over the edge as I wanted. Maybe it is the big venues, I find it very hard to listen to jazz in RFH and have pretty much stopped going except for chances like Keith Jarrett.

    Peter, yes it was Gershwin's I've got a crush.

    As for jazz in big venues, I would beg to differ. I love the intimacy of small places too, but good/experienced performers always want – and know how- to raise their game for the “roar Of The greasepaint, and the smell of the crowd”!

  4. I know I'm thinking back quite a ways now, but, do you know, I think that the tune they played at that point in the set was Cy Coleman's “I'm Going To Laugh You Right Out Of My Life” (which I'll always associate with Carmen McRae), rather than “I've Got A Crush On You”.
    I don't believe they payed the Gershwin… (at this point, it's more an emotional memory).

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