Keith Jarrett – Sleeper
(ECM 370 5570. CD Review by Chris Parker)
Given the universal acknowledgement of the uniquely influential and musically satisfying nature of Keith Jarrett’s ‘Belonging’ band, it seems almost unnecessary to do anything but simply note the appearance of this double album, which is taken from a previously unreleased live concert in Tokyo, 16 April 1979.
Familiar classics (chief among them ‘Personal Mountains’ and ‘New Dance’) received characteristically inventive quartet treatments, Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen setting up an infectiously joyous but consistently musicianly rhythmic flow under Jarrett’s robustly lyrical piano, Jan Garbarek’s utterly distinctive skirling saxophones (and occasional flute), and the subtlety and power of pieces such as ‘Prism’ and ‘So Tender’ demonstrate just why they continue to be explored by Jarrett’s Standards Trio all these years later.
Dancing energy, irresistible forward momentum, delicate yet vigorous interactiveness – the Belonging band simply set the jazz standard for these qualities in subsequent decades of the music, and this album contains seven valuable and unequivocally enjoyable demonstrations of Jarrett’s musical genius, perceptively described thus by Garbarek: ‘His touch, his chord movements, the always present rhythm, the surprising melodic turns, the ability to make the piano sing in such a unique way, complexity and simplicity, abstractions and earthiness hand in hand …’