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    Keith Jarrett: The Top 25 pearls in Jazz history

    Born on May 8, 1945, in Allentown, PA; son of Daniel (a real estate salesman) and Irma Jarrett; married Margot while in high school; children: two sons. Education: Attended Berklee School of Music for one year.

    In the February 1989 issue of Down Beat, Josef Woodward described the unique artistry and career of Keith Jarrett: “Like an unruly, self-determined river, Keith Jarrett’s pursuit of musical truth has taken him in a multiplicity of directions, either coursing a wide swath or branching off into tiny tangential reivulets. Similarly, his audience has been alternately swept up by the current, carried into the sidestreams, or has been left behind on the riverbanks.” Celebrated for his virtuosity and eclecticism, Jarrett has continued to experiment with the possibilities of the keyboard.

    Jarrett was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1945. When his parents’ marriage dissolved, Jarrett and his four brothers were raised by Irma Jarrett, his mother. A child prodigy who became a professional while still in grade school, he began to play the piano as a child, and started formal composition training at 15.

    Keith Jarrett spent a year at the Berklee College of Music in Boston but moved to New York to perform. Participation in Monday jam sessions at the Village Vanguard led to his first engagements. He toured with many of the most important ensembles in 1960s jazz, including Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and experimental saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and became the acoustic pianist for the Charles Lloyd Quartet on its successful tours of Western and Eastern Europe, the centers of popularity for American jazz.

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    Played with Jazz Innovators

    Jarrett’s compositions “Days and Nights Waiting” and “Sorcery” were given premieres in Europe by Lloyd’s Quartet. His own experimentation in these early years included one album of songs, Restoration Ruin, on which he played and overdubbed parts on the soprano saxophone, recorder, harmonica, guitar, piano, organ, electric bass, drums, bongos, tambourine, and sistra.

    When Lloyd’s group disbanded in 1969, Jarrett played with other jazz innovators, most notably Miles Davis, but he also travelled and recorded with his own trio-Ornette Coleman veteran Charlie Haden on bass, and Bill Evans sideman Paul Motian on drums–adding saxophonist Dewey Redman in 1971 for their first album, Birth.

    The quartet’s second album, Expectations, was awarded the French Grand Prix du Disque for Jazz in 1971. Jarrett began his recording collaboration with German producer Manfred Eicher and Editions of Contemporary Music (ECM) Records in 1971. As of 2002, Jarrett, Eicher and ECM had produced over 50 records together.

    Remaining devoted to the acoustic piano, despite the contemporary fashion for the electronic keyboard, Jarrett continued to write music for his own group. He has also composed for larger numbers and has integrated existing classical music ensembles into his works, as he did with the American Brass Quintet and the string section of the Stuttgart Philharmonic on his double album In the Light. His most popular albums are the solo piano recordings Facing You, Solo Concerts, and The Koln Concert, which was the best-selling piano record in history as of 1995, according to the Keith Jarrett official website.

    Jarrett’s reputation grew during the 1970s in Europe and the United States. His honors included a Guggenheim Fellowship for composition and being named Rolling Stone‘s Jazz Artist of 1973 and Down Beat‘s Composer and Pianist of the Year in 1975. Solo Concerts–recorded in 1974–was named record of the year by Down Beat, Stereo Review, Jazz Forum, Time and the New York Times. Jarrett began to split his time between his American quartet and the group of Scandinavian musicians–Jan Gabarek, Jo Christensen, and Palle Danieslsson–with whom he recorded Belonging. He brought them to New York in 1979 and sold out the venerable jazz club, the Village Vanguard, for five nights.

    Returned to Classical Piano Performance

    A return to classical piano performance began in the early 1980s as he performed the solo parts of concerti with orchestras. His repertory included the classics of twentieth-century composition, such as Concerti by Samuel Barber, Bela Bartok (2nd and 3rd) and Igor Stravinsky (Concerto for Piano and Woodwinds), as well as commissioned works by Lou Harrison and Peggy Glanville-Hicks.

    He has also given piano recitals of the classical repertory, favoring Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, and Shostakovich; and has recorded Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier. Crossover critic John Rockwell wrote of Jarrett’s first recital in the New York Times:

    “His interpretations had much to recommend them…. He has a venturesome musical mind, eager to embrace new music and new ways of playing familiar music.”

    In addition to Barber, Bartok, and Stravinsky, his classical repetoire has also included Hindemith and his billings include performances with the San Francisco Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Beethovenhalle Orchestra Bobb, as well as with well-known classical performers and conductors.

    In a 1989 Down Beat article, Jarrett analyzed the differences between playing the fully realized Bach compositions and the jazz standards. “In the case of the Well Tempered Clavier, I can see so clearly the process. The logic and motion of these lines makes beautiful sense…. I’m just more or less following his weave. He’s woven this thing and I’m reproducing it by hand…. In standards, there’s only a sketch, this single line with harmony. So I have to invent the rest of the rug.”

    He described “My Song,” which Down Beat called his “most hummable” work, this way: “If somebody can write ‘My Song,’ then either they have [a] brainstorm and wrote this deceptively simple piece that everybody likes when they hear it, or they know what they’re doing.”

    In 1983, Jarrett grouped with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette to form the Standards Trio. The group has stuck over the years, playing mostly standards for both large crowds and small houses, and recording in the studio. Their work resulted in two Grammy Award nominations, eleven critically-acclaimed recordings, the Pris du President de la Republique in 1991, and birthed 1996’s critically lauded Keith Jarrett at the Blue Note, a live recording of 37 songs with only three repeats on the whole album.

    Best site for Jazz sheet music and transcriptions download is right here.

    Describing the way in which the group successfully plays together, Jarrett told John Ephland of Down Beat, “We need pro, con and mediator; otherwise, everything falls apart.” When asked by Ephland if they communicated through their instruments–and not through vocal commands or hand signals–Jarrett replied, “That’s right.”

    While their communication onstage and in the recording studio makes them technically superior as a group, there’s more to it. “Every time we play, we might be playing the same material, but it’s a new planet.” Jarrett told Ephland. DownBeat.com said, “[the] acoustic trio … remains one of the most durable and dynamic in jazz today.”

    Struggled with Illness

    In 1996, Jarrett was struck with a severe case of chronic fatigue syndrome, a debilitating bacterial disease. He caught the airborn parasite while on a tour of Europe. He said that “Playing the piano has been my entire life,” according to Down Beat‘s Dan Ouellette, but Jarrett was forced to cancel all his engagements and even seriously consider whether or not he would ever play again.

    And for over two years, he didn’t. He was, in fact, confined to his house during those two years, unable to play the piano even inside. Still unable to give the type of “athletic” performance he was known for when he returned to a trimmed-down touring scene, Jarrett learned to exist under a “roof” of physical ability, forever knowing he could hit that roof and relapse back into chronic fatigue. In 1999, Jarrett recorded The Melody at Night with You, an album for his wife as a Christmas gift, and his return to the music world.

    Jarrett is best known for his improvisational performances; a musical genre that owes much to Baroque keyboard composers such as Bach and Scarlatti and to the traditions of jazz. In an article by James Lincoln Collier in the New York Times Magazine, Jarrett described the depth of his “Tabula-rasa approach to jazz improvising” as “I like to turn off the thought process. I’d like to forget that I even have hands. I’d like to sit down as if I’d never played the piano before.”

    He got this idea when he was in his teens, and he heard his brother play the piano in a way that inspired him to play freely. He told Ted Panken of Down Beat, “Practicing usually gets in the way of my performing. It’s like it sets up patterns or makes my ears less open. I’ve often said the art of the improviser is the art of forgetting.”

    And he claims to have had to work long and hard to put imperfections–“soul”–in his music. He told Ephland, “If I’m filled up, then all I can do when I play is throw up. But if I can get to some place and be real empty, then I can be available.” It’s a philosophy that has taken him far. He told Ephland, “If you own anything, you’re not free.”

    Jarrett’s jazz–of a style and a level of talent all his own–has made him what the Keith Jarrett official website called “an improviser of unsurpassed genius and a master of jazz piano.” He performs and records music solo, with other musicians, and with his Standards Trio, improvising at the top of his game and growing even more influential. He has had more than 30 years of important accomplishments, working with the “imperfect instrument” to create the stuff that improvisation is made of.

    by Barbara Stratyner

    Keith Jarrett plays a solo improvisation at “Molde Jazz Festival” in Norway, August 2, 1972.

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    Musical Analysis Keith Jarrett - The Art of Improvisation

    What is Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett – A musical analysis of “My Funny Valentine”(2/2)

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    What is Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett – A musical analysis of “My Funny Valentine”(2/2)

    The introduction

    The essential character here is one of a folk-like quality (with its preponderance of chords derived from the Aeolian mode and harmonic movement centered around the tonic) combined with classical elements (attention to detail in the voices, and the use of chords in their first
    inversion), jazz voicings, and bars of different lengths, which give it a contemporary edge.

    There is a strong sense of it being improvised in the moment, and this, coupled with the fact that (except for two brief ritardandos) it is played at a moderate tempo throughout, gives it much forward momentum. It builds towards a climax of fast moving chords, which occurs near the end, and then gradually winds down before concluding and moving into the main piece.

    There is no obvious reference to the melody or the verse of the song, rather an approach that sounds like a “Fantasy inC minor”, where the main key of the song is freely explored.

    Form and Melody

    It is seventy bars in length, runs for approximately two minutes and fifteen seconds, and has a form which is comprised of five main sections that are separated by cadences. It is as follows:

    1st section: 7 bars;
    2nd section: 5 bars;
    3rd section: 1 0 bars;
    4th section: 23 bars;
    5th section: 25 bars;

    A cohesive form is achieved by the use of definite melodic episodes within the sections, and these are again, based on rhythmic motifs which provide the core thematic material. These episodes (except for one instance at bars 44 and 45 where the left-hand answers the right [see ex.50)) are all found in the right-hand part, but often the melodies move from the soprano voice to the first or second alto (as in bars 9 and 10 [see ex.51], 21-25, 33 and 34 etc.) while the soprano continues with longer or sustained notes, thus adding a certain contrapuntal sophistication to the sound.

    keith jarrett jazz improvisation sheet music

    There is no obvious pattern in the lengths or groupings of the episodes, and they vary in length from three bars to nine. The most prominent motif is “A”, and it is utilized in a number of ways. The episodes will be described as before, and are as follows:
    1st section:
    Bars 1-3, 1″1 episode :-This is based on motif “A” (see ex.52). After it is first stated (bar 2 [the figure in bar 1 is a pickup]), it is repeated (bar 3);
    Bars 4-7, 2″‘ episode :-This is based on motif “B” (see ex. 52). After it is first stated (bar 4), it is repeated twice (bars 5,6 [at 6 it is lengthened by a quaver and leads to the cadence figure at bar 7). The figure at the end of 7 is a connecting phrase to the next section;
    2nd section:
    Bars 8-12, only episode:- This is based on motif “C” (see ex.52). After it is first stated (bar 9 [the figure in 8 is a pick up]), it is repeated (bar 10 [it is effectively shortened by a crotchet), then it is played in slightly truncated form (bars 11, 12);
    3rd section:
    Bars 13 and 14, opening phrase. Bars 15-18, 1’1 episode:- This is based on motif “C1” (see ex.52). After it is first stated (bar 15 (includes quaver pick up from previous bar]), it is played in truncated and more syncopated fonm (bar 16), then permutated through a change to 3/4 (bars 17, 18);
    Bars 19-22, 2″‘ episode:- This is based on motif “C”. After it is first stated (bar 19 [incl. quaver pick up from prev. bar, first note is lengthened by a quaver)), it is repeated (bar 21 [figure at bar 20 is a connecting phrase]);

    4′” section:
    Bars 23-25, 1 ‘1 episode :- This is based on motif “C”. After it is first stated (bar 23 [incl. quaver pick up from prev. bar, last note is lengthened by a quaver]), it is repeated (bar 25 [pick up in 24 is longer]); Bars 26-34, 2nd episode :- This is based on motif “D” (see ex.52). After it is first stated (bars 26,27), it is displaced (it’s quaver pick up is on 2+ rather than 1 + ), lengthened by a crotchet and repeated twice (bars 28-31 [incl. quaver and crotchet pick up from prev. bar]). The figure at 32,33 is a cadential phrase derived from “D”. The figure at 34 is derived from “C”; Bars 35-37, 3″‘ episode :-The figure in bar 35 is a connecting phrase. This is based on motif “E” (see ex.52). After it is first stated (bar 36 [does not include first crotchet]), it is displaced (the quaver pick up is on 1 + rather than 2) and shortened by a quaver (bar 37); Bars 38-41, 4′” episode :-This is based on motif “A”. After it is first stated (beat 3 of 38, beat 1 of 39), it is repeated (bar 41 [the figure at 39,40 is a connecting phrase]); The figure at the end of 41,42 is a connecting phrase. Bars 43-45, 5′” episode : This combines motif “F” (see ex. 52) at bar 43 with a cadence figure which is played twice (bars 44,45 [note how this is the same as the one at bar 7]);

    5th section:
    Bars 46-54, 1″ episode :- Begins with what is essentially motifs “F” and “A” combined (bars 46,47 [“F” has a quaver pick up added to it]) and which will now be called “A1” (see ex.52). This is then repeated (bars 48,49 [pick up from prev. bar is lengthened by 2 quavers]), then shortened
    by a crotchet as part of a change to 3/4 and repeated twice (bars 50-53 [incl. pick up from prev. bar, ]), then played in 4/4 but shortened by a crotchet (bar 54 [pick up from prev. bar is 5 quavers]); Bars 55-57, climactic passage (essentially all quavers). Bars 58-63, 2″• episode :-This is based on motifs “A1” and “A”. “A1” is played (bars 58,59), then “A” is played (bar 60 [incl. pick up from prev. bar]), then “A” is displaced (the first quaver is on the last beat of the bar rather than the first) and played 3 times (starts on beat 3 of 60, end on beat 1 of 63); Bars 64-70, 3″‘ episode:- This is based on motif “A”. After it starts (beat 2 of 63), it is repeated 5
    times in various rhythmic permutations which involve changing time signatures;

    Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett  sheet music

    The above analysis clearly shows the solidity of the structural foundation, and it is this, combined with the spontaneity and emotional depth that Jarrett brings to the proceedings, that makes the introduction so successful. This kind of balance was touched upon by Yehudi Menuhin in his description of Bach’s music- “However passionate it may become, there is a/ways form … “

    It is also worth noting that except for bars 26, 27, 49, and bars 64-69, the entire melody is created using the Aeolian scale.

    Rhythm

    As mentioned earlier, apart from brief ritardandos at bars 12 and 68, it is played in tempo, and the impression of rhythmic simplicity that one might get upon first hearing is shown, upon close examination to be rather deceptive, as there is much variety here. This is achieved by substantial use of syncopation (as in bars 4-7 [see ex.53], 14-16, 19-22 etc.), space (bars 3
    and 4, 12, 24, 66-70), and again (and most importantly), both the utilization of varied time signatures and the rhythmic manipulation of the aforementioned motifs.

    The manipulation, once more, is achieved by the use of augmentation, diminution, and permutation via changed meters, but in this case, also through the use of a number of displacements. These, (as can be seen from the analysis of the episodes above) can be found at bars 26-29 (see ex.54),
    36,37, and 60-63.

    Again, there is much shifting from 414 to 314, and vice versa (bars til-17, 53-54 etc.), and the changes to 214 + 314 and 514, though creating some asymmetry (see ex.55), tend to be overshadowed by the displacements in this regard. Here again, Jarrett displays a sense of rhythmic flexibility, and freedom with phrasing, and it is hard not to think of his experience as a drummer. He once said “I’ve been playing drums all my life … lt’s really my first instrument!”

    Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett

    Harmony

    As mentioned earlier, this introduction is centered very firmly around the tonic key of C minor, the only real modulation being a fleeting move to C major at bars 25 and 26, which of course reiterates the tonic further (see ex.62). The tonic chord of the relative major, E flat, is used a number of times from bar 23 onwards, and there is a brief chromatic shift to an E flat minor chord at bar 49, but these function only as passing chords (see ex.62).

    Before looking at the bulk of the harmonic content, one other component is also worthy of mention, and that is the final passage which begins at bar 64 (see ex. 56). Even though it contains a number of notes that are outside of the Aeolian scale in its melody, and its hanmony descends chromatically, the fact that it starts on the tonic, with a tonality that has been so well established means it functions simply as a contrasting, extended cadence.

    Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett sheet music

    The most predominant chords used are I, VI, IV, and V, and the fact that they often include suspensions (emphasizing the intervals of the fourth and the fifth) contributes very much to the aforementioned folk-like, modal quality (see ex.57). The frequent use of the leading note (B
    natural) in the V chord (bars 12, 18, and 22) however, the utilization of major chords in their first inversion (bars 17, 25, 32, 35, 37, 40 and 41), and the use of triads in some cadences (bars 24 and 26) tend to reflect more upon the classical tradition (see exs. 58-60). The influence of the jazz
    tradition is probably most obvious in the use of extended and altered chords (see ex.61 ).

    Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett sheet music
    Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett

    The harmonic progressions follow patterns that are typical of western music in general, although the previously mentioned passage at bar 64 is perhaps more jazz influenced. (Note its use of dissonant chords, particularly the ones at bars 66 and 68 where the minor chords feature both minor and major sevenths [see ex.56].) The most frequently used pattern is VI, IV, V (bars 3-6, g,10, 19, 20 etc.), which sometimes resolves to I, but usually moves on to another chord, most often VI (e.g. see bar 5 in ex.62). The II V progression, so common in jazz, features a number of
    times {bars 11,12, 14-16 etc.) but again, only sometimes resolves to the tonic (e.g. see bars 14- 16 in ex.62).

    There are a couple of step-wise progressions, the short one at bars 23-26 also being a sequence, which facilitates the brief modulation to C major. The longer one begins at bar 52, and except for skipping the seventh degree of the scale at 53, it descends scale-wise and is very effective in setting up the climax which occurs at bar 55 (for both of these see ex.62). As well as the aforementioned passage at bar 64 (which utilizes a descending chromatic pattern that actually starts at bar 62), there is one other section which uses a chromatic progression, but on this occasion it is an ascending one. It starts at bar 35 and continues through to the beginning of 42, and unlike the passage at bar 64 utilizes chords which are all closely related to the tonic key (see ex.62). It is important to note how these two sections, along with the previously mentioned one at bar 52, contribute to the drama and overall shape of the introduction.

    Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett – A musical analysis

    It is worth noting that the climactic passage from bars 55-57 utilizes many parallel fourth and fifth intervals in its chords, and this, of course, tends to emphasize the modal, folk-like flavor (see ex.63).

    Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett – A musical analysis

    Opening melody section

    The first four bars of the song are played at a moderately slow tempo by the piano only, and act as a transition between the introduction and the rendering of the piece by the ensemble and here, Jarrett uses an ascending line progression in the accompaniment rather than the more common descending one (see the chord chart that accompanies the transcriptions).

    The ensemble enters at bar 5 with a straight eighths feel, and the song is given a fairly free reading, with the piano utilizing a single right-hand line accompanied by left-hand chords, and the band playing quite sparsely. The harmony, in comparison with the chord changes that tend to be used (again, see the chord chart ) is slightly simplified, with the 4 bar C minor
    sequence that is central to the song being played (except for the first four bars) as C minor, G 7, C minor, F 7, instead of the descending chromatic sequence, the chords at bars 5 and 6, and 13 and 14 being played as just F minor rather than Ab major, F minor, and the chords in the first half of the bridge (bars 17-20) being played as Eb, Bb 7, Eb, rather than Eb, F min., Eb/G, F min. etc. (Note the use in bar 15 of the common substitution where B major replaces Ab minor, and the Eb dim. add 9 harmony in bar 19 which creates a darker sound than the usual major chord.)

    The melody (once the band has entered) is played very freely, and is subjected to rhythmic variation (bars 5-6 etc.), paraphrasing (bars 9-12 etc.), or departed from completely, as in bars 14-20. The melodic material here becomes part of a rhythmic episode which features the use of a displaced figure, this involving the manipulation of the motif (two crotchets followed by a minim) that occurs in bar 15. This motif (its minim is shortened to a dotted crotchet) of two and a half beats in length is played successively over a number of bars, and of course falls in different places in relation to the ground beat.

    This, in combination with the support of the left-hand chords and the bass’s off-beat figures, creates a suspended feeling and much rhythmic tension. Bill Evans said this about his own use of rhythmn displacement – “… the displacement of phrases, and the way phrases follow one another, and their placement against the meter and so forth, is something that I’ve worked on rather hard … “

    The tension is released at bar 21, where the melody (though altered melodically and rhythmically) is returned to, followed then at bar 25 by another paraphrase, this time utilizing block chords. These are played mainly in dotted crotchet rhythms, are almost all off the beat, and create a climax which lasts until bar 33, where the melody is briefly stated before the solo break begins at bar 34.

    Piano solo

    It is three choruses long (108 bars), and runs for approximately three and a half minutes. The overall shape is as follows:

    – First chorus – moderately slow tempo, melody occasionally alluded to, comparatively sparse, builds slowly towards the second; Second chorus- double time feel (continues for the rest of the solo), no obvious reference to the melody, becomes busier, more intense and builds to a high point at the end; Third chorus -double time feel, intensity sustained but kept in check before building to climax, winds down.

    Form

    Again, form is achieved mainly by the combination of broad shapes that has been described above. (Note that, like before, the high points [bars 66- 70 and 97-104] both use the very high register.) Once more, there is not any sustained use of a particular motif or theme, but instead, a sense of the solo being through composed.

    There are again, however, many thematic episodes here, and once more they tend to assist with the overall development of the solo, and sometimes facilitate changes in intensity (e.g. bars 49-51[see ex.64], 64-66). On the whole, they tend to be relatively short and are generally two to four bars long (bars 17- 20, 29- 32, 57 (beat 2)- 58, 81-83 etc.). There is one longer one and this can be found at bars 3-12 where the figure in bar 4 is utilized in bars 9-12 (see ex.65).

    Jazz Improvisation Keith Jarrett

    It seems clear when looking at the profile of this solo and Stella by Starlight’s that Jarrett is manipulating the shape of the improvisation with great awareness, as he goes along. Another comment of his further illuminates this – ” … when I’m playing I think in terms of structure, but a
    very fluid structure that could change at any instant.”

    Rhythm

    The overall impression here is again one of flexibility, and once more, there is much variety in terms of the different rhythms and their combinations, the lengths of phrases, where the phrases begin and end in relation to the bar lines, and the phrases’ relationship to the beat.

    A good example of the variety of rhythms and their combinations can again be found at the beginning of the solo, this time in the first twelve bars (see ex.66). Of particular note is the opening phrase (bars 1 and 2 alone containing crotchets, quavers, a quaver triplet, and semiquavers),
    and the succession of anticipated quavers at bars 5 and 6. Other examples can be found at bars 20-26, 29-35, 37-47, 61-66 etc. The phrases vary in length from half a bar (bars 47, 65, 72 etc.), to five and a half bars (bars 91-96), but once more, they tend in general to be one or two bars long. Where they begin and end in relation to the bar lines again shows
    Jarrett’s flexibility, and this will be illustrated as before, by examining the first sixteen bars (also see ex.66).- First phrase:- starts on 4+, ends on 1; Second p])rase:- starts on 2+, ends on 1; Third phrase:- starts on 3+, ends on 2+; Fourth phrase:- starts on 2+, ends on 1; Fifth phrase:- starts on 2, ends on 3; Sixth phrase:- starts on 3+, ends on 4+; Seventh phrase:starts
    on 1, ends on 4; Eighth phrase:- starts on 4+, ends on 2+; Ninth phrase:- starts on 4, ends on 2.

    Once more, the above example also shows some of the syncopation present, and in this case it is considerable. When we look within those same phrases, there is also much to be found, and this is reinforced by the few accents here, which favour the off beats. In general however, the accents in the lines tend to be both on and off the main beats.

    Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett – A musical analysis

    There are three other important aspects here, and the first of these is the occasional use of displaced figures. They all vary a little from one another, but tend (as previously mentioned) to make the time sound as though it was turned around. These can be found in bars 14,15, 29,30, 49-51 (see ex.68), 64-66, and 77-79. The second, is a few instances of the behind the beat playing that is so prominent in Stella by Starlight, (bars 1, 3 [see ex.69], 24) and one of playing ahead of the beat (bar 104 [see ex.70]). These again of course, create a sense of rhythmic elasticity, though it seems that with Jarrett (in this case at least), the swing feel of Stella is far
    more conducive to this kind of approach than the straight eighths feel that is found here. The third is the small number of irregular groupings of notes that are found mainly in the last part of the solo (bars 94, 100 [see ex.71], 104) and which create the impression of brief departures from the
    ground beat.

    Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett – A musical analysis

    Harmony

    Again, the chord changes here essentially follow those in the melody section, but with a number of variations. The bass’s role is again, both functional and melodic, but in this case the melodic figures tend to utilize the fifth more than any1hing else, as this is more in keeping with the traditional approach to pieces with straight eighths and Latin feels. A couple of the harmonic sections are treated quite loosely, and the first of these is the section which is found in the second bar of each four bar C minor sequence. Here, Jarrett often plays just G 7, but Peacock frequently plays D, G, and occasionally this results in a momentary conflict (e.g. bar
    24 [see ex.72]).

    The second is the descending chromatic sequence found in bar 22 of the
    structure. In the first two choruses (bars 22 and 58), the piano plays all C minor but the bass plays C, B. Bb, Eb, and in the third (bar 94), the piano outlines the changes whereas the bass plays more of a C minor figure (see ex.73). Obviously, these variations contribute to a sense of harmonic freedom.

    Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett – A musical analysis

    The most sustained and substantial variations however, occur from bars 66 to 72 (see ex.74). In bar 66, we see an Eb 7 alt chord played under a D 7 line (harmonic suspension), followed in 67 by a Bb minor chord over a B bass note (harmonic anticipation), and then in 68 we see E min. 7, A 7 in place of Eb 7 (a tri-tone substitution). In bar 69 we not only see a D bass note in place of the usual Ab, but also the beginning of an interesting three bar harmonic episodes. Here, (at the very end of the bar) Jarrett plays a root position F major 7 chord in the left hand, anticipating the next bar (which would normally be F minor 7, Bb7), but really functioning as a G7sus chord.

    Peacock immediately responds with a G pedal figure at bar 70 (which he maintains throughout), and Jarrett shifts the left-hand chords down chromatically whilst playing right-hand lines that essentially outline G7. All of this creates considerable drama, as it bypasses the resolution to the
    relative major in favor of a dominant pedal. (It is also interesting to note that at bars 106 and 107 the resolution to the relative major is again bypassed in favour of a II VI progression in C minor.)

    Another variation can be found at bars 43 and 44 (see ex.75), where the bass plays an Ab figure at bar 43 (non-specific chord quality) in place of the usual D, and then at 44 plays D, G, rather than just G. The piano line at 43 suggests Ab minor for beats 1, 2, and 3, and G7 for beat 4 (there is no left hand in this bar), and then at bar 44 it outlines 07, G7.

    The above examples demonstrate very well the level of spontaneity and empathy that is present between the players. Author Geoff Dyer made the following comment about the trio – ” … while listening to the trio, it is often impossible to tell who is leading and who is following, who is
    initiating and who is responding.”

    Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett – A musical analysis

    Another example of harmonic suspension can be found at bars 80 (a 07 chord is outlined over a
    G7 [see ex.76]).

    More examples of harmonic anticipation can be seen at bars 36 (see elS.77) and 108 (where the line is all G7, but the chords are 07, G7). Another example of chord substitution can be found on beat 3 of bar 1 02, where a C# minor harmony is played in place of G 7 (see ex. 78).

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    The variations here, of course, create tension, add color, and contribute to a sense of harmonic sophistication and freedom.

    Melody

    Not surprisingly, a lyrical quality again pervades here, but the overall melodic character is quite different to Stella by Starlight. The minor key and different rhythmic feel of the piece (particularly the double time section) obviously contribute to this, but it is also testament to Jarrett’s range and ability to improvise fresh lines each time he plays. lan Carr, talking about one of Jarrett’s solo tracks, compared his fast runs with those of Art Tatum- “… whereas the latter (Tatum) often performed the fast runs which were his stock-in-trade and part of his habitual repertoire, Jarrett seems to be actually conceiving and playing new lines at this
    amazing speed and intensity.”

    The organizational approach tends to be based upon scalar shapes. More than anything else, but there is a large variety of these (a lot of which utilize chromaticism), and arpeggiated figures feature throughout. The previously mentioned allusions to the original melody can be found in bars 5 and 6 (see ex.79), 10, 26, and 31-33, and once more, grace notes can be
    seen in the last bar of the solo break, and bars 8 (see ex.80), 9, 12, etc.

    Before the aspect of chromaticism is looked at, the general diatonic shapes will be described, and again, these range from scale passages (bars 3 [see ex.81], 49 and 50 [beats 4 and 1 respectively], 74 etc.), to scalar-type figures (bars 53 [see ex.82], 67, 78 etc.), to more purely melodic shapes (bars 2 [see ex.83], 7 [beats 3 and 4], 31, 38 etc.), and to melodic shapes which feature large intervals (last bar of solo break [see ex.84], bars 1, 22, 46, 70, etc.).

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    The use of chromaticism will be described as before:-
    The use of chromatic notes as,

    1) Components of chromatic scale passages (bars 42 [last 2 semi quavers to beat 2 of 43 – see ex.85 ], 91[first 6 semi quavers, 94 [beat 2]etc. ).
    2) Passing tones (bars 15 [see ex.86], 28 [beat 1, 2nd semi quaver], 36 [beat 3, last semi quaver], 56 [beat 2, 2nd semi quaver] etc.).
    3) Approach tones (bars 7 [see ex.87], 27 [last semi quaver], 28 [beat 2, last semi quaver], 52 [first semi quaver] etc.).
    4) Dissonant tones which fall on the main beats and then resolve (bars 8 [beat 3], 16 [see ex.88], 28 [beat 3, 3rd semi quaver], 41 [B natural], etc.).
    5) Upper and or lower neighbour tones (bars 36 [see ex.89], 46 [beat 3], 54 [beat 3]).
    6) Components of general or universal melodic shapes (“1” – bar 55; “2” – bars 43, 59 [beat 4, slightly modified], 68 [beat 3]; “3” – bar 93; “4” – bars 36, 56 [beat 3], 68 [beat1], 90 [beat 3], 1 08 [beat 2 – These differ slightly from the original model, but have the same shape]; “5” – bars 43, 56 [beat 4], 69 [beat 1], 103 [beat 3 – These tend to differ a little from one another, but all have similar shapes] – For examples see ex. go).

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    The arpeggiated figures tend to utilize either traditional seventh-type formations (bars 18-20 [see ex.91], 59 [beat 2], 71 [beat 4], 89, 90 etc.), superimposed triads (bar 21 [see ex.92], bar 39 [G/C minor= C min maj.9], bar 66 [Bb/07 = 07alt.] etc.), or combinations of triads (bar 95 [see ex.93], bar 102 [Bb & Ab minor/07 = 07alt.,013b5b9].). Obviously, these provide contrast to the prevailing scalar approach.

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    The role of the left hand

    In general the left hand is used throughout, although there are two sections where it is absent for a number of bars {60-63 and 72-78), and in the second of these, it contributes to the leveling out that occurs at the beginning of the third chorus. This connection actually typifies the overall role here, as the left hand tends to be an integral part of the changes in intensity.

    In the first chorus, there are many sustained chords along with shorter ones, and they tend to be both on and off the beat, this mirroring the steady build of the solo (see ex.94). In the second and third choruses (which feature the double time feel), the chords on the whole tend to become shorter and more syncopated, and are particularly active in supporting the increases in intensity.

    This often involves the playing of longer chords which are heavily accented and off the beat (bars 48-51(see ex.95), 65, 69,70 [see Harmony] etc.) as well as shorter, busier configurations (bars 52 (see ex.96), 56, 66, 68 etc. The long chord at bar 105 delineates the beginning of the brief wind down section (see ex.97).

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    Closing melody section

    The character here contrasts very much with the preceding bass solo section (which maintains the aforementioned double time feel), and is played essentially with a half-time feel. This is achieved primarily by Jarrett’s use of a more sustained, minim based left-hand accompaniment, and the pattern that DeJohnette plays on the ride cymbal.

    Again, we see the retention of enough elements from the opening melody section (essentially the same chord changes, a similar approach to the melody, a certain sparseness, occasional hints of the same rhythmic ploys) to ensure thematic continuity, but also enough differences (the previously mentioned half time feel, subtle harmonic variations, a little more of the original
    melody, less rhythmic tension) to give it a change of character, and make it clear to the listener that a musical journey has taken place. Once more, Jarrett’s cadenza begins at the final resolution point (bar 35).

    The cadenza (see ex.98)

    This is 37 bars long, and lasts for just under a minute. Its basic structure is fairly simple, as it essentially utilizes one melodic motif throughout, and uses a harmonic progression which descends chromatically from the dominant of the relative major, Bb, to the tonic, C minor. (Note that this progression ties in with the chromatic progressions that occur in the introduction.)

    The motif is derived from the melody notes that originally occur in bar 34 (see ex.99), and these, of course, are derived from the main theme of the piece. As it begins, Jarrett changes into 3/4 and doubles the speed (the quavers of the closing melody section then become crotchets), and much like the introduction, it is played in tempo throughout (except for a brief ritardando at the end).

    However, the rhythm of the melody in this case is a constant stream of crotchets, and potential monotony is avoided by the use of (again) varied time signatures (the aforementioned 3/4 combined with many bars of 4/4 and 5/4), changes to the melody notes (which of course reflect the changing harmonies), and the use of counter melodies in the tenor part. The tonal center of C minor is established by the reiteration of the tonic in the last 10 bars, and the movement of the counter melody, which circles around the fifth until the final resolution.

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    Jarrett’s statement here functions very well in providing a thematically based conclusion to the piece, and does so once more with just the right balance of repetition and variety.

    Overview and Summary

    The introduction, again of course, functions as a prelude, but because in this case the melody of the song is not used, there is very much a sense of it being a piece in itself. This compositional quality is enhanced by the consistent pulse, which leaves little room for reflection. Its shape tends to be that of a gradual build towards a climax and then a winding down, which clearly signifies a delineation between sections, and of course sets the mood for the opening melody section.

    This section obviously introduces the melody of the piece and the ensemble part, but also has its own profile, which is most apparent in the first half of the B section (where a rhythmic displacement occurs). The first eight bars of the C section (where there is a rhythmic block chord passage), and then in the last four bars where there is a clear breathing space between sections.

    The piano solo once more functions as a development section. And in the first chorus it steadily works towards the second, where the change to the double time feel, though creating a different mood, feels like a natural progression. Again, the second and third choruses continue the development. Essentially, by increasing the levels of intensity via plateaus until a climax is reached. The wind down following the climax of course serves to delineate the piano solo from the bass solo, but in this case it is only four bars long. And the intensity level is still relatively high.

    The closing melody section, once more, functions as the final part of the development by the ensemble, and again (as previously mentioned) makes it apparent that a musical journey has occurred through another change in character. This character changes immediately once Jarrett signifies his intention to begin the cadenza, and prompts the band to drop out. The
    cadenza then functions as a coda that has obvious thematic content, similarities to the introduction, and is again, of course, played by the piano alone.

    The overall impression one gets from this performance is similar to that of the previous piece. There is a sense of it being a musical story which is high on passion, very flowing, and definitely “in the moment” at all times. Again, this story is made up of many musical episodes which are underpinned by a strong sense of form and structure, but the level of
    spontaneity makes it a different story to Stella by Starlight, and the straight eighths feel and inherent differences in the introductions (of course) contribute to this.

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    Keith Jarrett – Tokyo Solo 2002 Encores

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    Keith Jarrett - The Art of Improvisation

    Keith Jarrett The Art of Improvisation Part 10/10. Exclusive Interviews

    Keith Jarrett The Art of Improvisation Part 10/10. Exclusive Interviews with Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack Dejohnette.

    Jazz sheet music download here.

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    Keith Jarrett The Art of Improvisation

    A documentary portrait of one of the world’s superstars of Jazz, pianist Keith Jarrett, exploring his life and work.

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    Keith Jarrett - The Art of Improvisation

    The End of an Era: Keith Jarrett’s Return to his Roots

    The End of an Era: Keith Jarrett’s Return to his Roots. His sheet music is available for download from our Library.

    Keith Jarrett, one of the greatest musicians and profilistic pianists of our time, has recently announced that he will no longer be able to hold up his career as a performer. Now 75, he suffered a pair of draining strokes two years ago that left his left side paralyzed and resulting in an unability to play the piano. The recently released “Budapest Concert” – a return to his grandparents’ native country Hungary – is likely one of Jarrett’s final recorded public solo piano recitals.

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    Jarrett said to New Your Times in October: “I was paralyzed. My left side is still partially paralyzed. I’m able to try to walk with a cane, but it took a long time for that… took a year or more. And I’m not getting around this house at all, really.” He goes on to reveal that despite efforts to play with just his right hand, “I don’t know what my future is supposed to be. I don’t feel right now like I’m a pianist. That’s all I can say about that.”

    Improvised Solo Recitals

    As a performer, belonging to the global top segment of jazz pianists, Jarrett covered a multitude of genres throughout the years. He stands out as the inventor of the improvised solo recital with a series of unmatched recordings in this genre displaying wanderings in territories such as traditions of jazz and other genres like Western classical music, gospel, blues and ethnic folk music. In 1973 the ECM label organized an 18-concert European tour, consisting solely of Jarrett’s solo improvisations.

    The result was the landmark recording, “The Köln Concert” (1975), a double album with worldwide sales estimated at 3.5 million copies. Even if ”The Köln Concert” from 1975 has become a reference known by everybody it was actually precursed by the solo albums “Facing You” (1971), “Bremen/Lausanne” (1973).

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    Since his “Köln Concert” in 1975, which is the most sold jazz record ever, the solo recital wizardry continued with albums such as “Sun Bear Concerts” (1978), “ Dark Intervals” (1988), “Paris Concert” (1990), “Vienna Concert” (1992), “La Scala” (1997), “Tokyo ’96” (1998), “The Carnegie Hall Concert” (2006), “Paris/London – Testament” (2009), “ Rio” (2011), “Creation” (2015) and “A Multitude of Angels” (2016).

    The European Tour 2016

    His most recent tour took place in Europe in 2016 and included a concert in the Bela Bartok National Concert Hall, Budapest. He described the “Budapest Concert” (released in October 2020) as the “gold standard” by which all of his solo concerts to date would have to be measured. Together with the “Munich 2016” album, recorded at Munich’s Philharmonieon on the last night of the same tour, it will likely symbolize a final tribute to his outstanding capacity as a solo pianist in a genre which he created and which has become the trademark of his career.

    The embrace of folkloric music by Bartok and other Hungarian composers further nudged Mr. Jarrett toward a dark quality — “a kind of existential sadness, let’s say, a deepness” — powerfully present in the concert’s first half. The second half, as admirers of “The Köln Concert” will appreciate, features a few of Mr. Jarrett’s most ravishing on-the-spot compositions. Those ballads, like “Part V” and “Part VII,” spark against briskly atonal or boppish pieces, gradually building the case for a mature expression that might not have been possible earlier in his career.
    — NY Times

    He is “like a centaur – half man, half piano,” the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung recently wrote about Jarrett’s solo concerts, adding that he “melted into the instrument and bent the keys to make them wail like an old blues guitar.” According to his biographer Wolfgang Sandner, he is the “greatest piano improviser of our time.”

    Jarrett as a classical pianist

    As one of the most unique profiles in over half a century of jazz, Keith Jarrett’s output has been profound as well as versatile. As a classical pianist with explorations of the baroque organ, clavichord, harpsichord, string quartet, Jarrett has recorded some seventeen albums ranging a broad palette of music history: Bach, Händel, Mozart, Shostakovich, Harrison, Pärt and Barber offer wide and interesting interpretational journeys widely appreciated and very often discussed.

    keith jarrett sheet music
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    Keith Jarrett - The Art of Improvisation

    Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation COMPLETE (full 2005 documentary* including the extra interviews)

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    Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation COMPLETE (full 2005 documentary* including the extra interviews)

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    “In this in-depth portrait of one of the world’s superstars of Jazz, pianist Keith Jarrett talks about the range of his music, the importance of improvisation, the great artists he has worked with, nd about the highs and lows of his life. Further iniaghts are provided by fellow musicians, family members and other musical assocaites.

    Incorporating recordings and rare archive footage of concerts dating back to thr 1960s and including such greats as Miles Davis and Charles Lloyd, this first-ever major documetary has been made with the full cooperation of Keith Jarrett himself.” “With, in order of appearance, Keith Jarrett, Manfred Eicher, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette, Steve Cloud, Scott Jarrett, George Avakian, Gary Burton, Toshinari Koinuma, Chick Corea, Charlie Haden, Dewey Redman, Rose Anne Jarrett and Palle Danielsson.”

    Directed and narrated by Mike Dibb.

    Programme consultant; Ian Carr.

    Keith Jarrett in extended interview about his work illustrated by numerous tv clips of the musician in performance over the years and with interviews by colleagues Ian Carr, Miles Davis, Manfred Eicher, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette, George Avakian, Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Charlie Haden, Dewey Redman, Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen. (Personnel on Camera)

    All About Jazz review

    While he can often engender all manner of contention and argument, it’s unquestionable that Keith Jarrett is one of the most significant pianists to emerge in the second half of the 20th Century.

    An artist who has done it all — performed his own sometimes lyrical, sometimes free-spirited compositions with two groundbreaking quartets in the ’70s; taken solo improvisation to a whole new level with a series of important recordings including the classics Facing You and The Köln Concert; contributed a fresh spontaneity to the Great American Songbook with his Standards Trio; tackled the challenging classical repertoires of Bach, Mozart and Shostakovich and composed his own classical works; and played in landmark groups including Charles Lloyd in the ’60s and Miles Davis in the ’70s — Jarrett is also more than a little enigmatic. Fastidious, perfectionist and, some might argue, highly controlled in his life, Jarrett paradoxically defines the concept of pure abandon in his playing.

    With a life’s work that, classical repertoire aside, has always been about spontaneous creation, Jarrett is in an especially capable position to shed light on the true meaning of improvisation. And so, British producer/director Mike Dibb, responsible for ’02’s The Miles Davis Story, has fashioned a new documentary which, while never explicitly defining what that elusive meaning is, nevertheless manages — after 85 minutes and a series of remarkably erudite interviews with Jarrett and those who have been close to him over the past 30 years — to create a vivid impression that is both inspirational to aspiring musicians and uniquely clarifying to others who want to understand the process of how musicians create something out of nothing.

    Rather than present a chronological examination of Jarrett’s life thus far, Dibb chooses, much like Jarrett’s own work, to use a seemingly non-linear approach that focuses on Jarrett’s improvisational process although, in the final analysis — just like Jarrett’s extemporizations — there is an arc. Beginning with the Standards Trio, then jumping back to his early days and ultimately ending with his European Quartet including saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Palle Danielsson and drummer Jon Christensen, what becomes evident is that Jarrett’s goal has essentially been the same as when, precociously, he would add both his own original compositions and spontaneous creations to the classical repertoire of recitals dating back as early as when he was only eight years old.

    Amongst the many interviews with past and present collaborators including Garbarek, Danielsson, Christensen, Charlie Haden, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette, Chick Corea, Gary Burton and Dewey Redman, perhaps the most significant footage is that with ECM label owner and producer Manfred Eicher, with whom Jarrett found the perfect creative partner early in his career.

    Jarrett goes as far as saying that his albums are the product of two people — himself and Eicher — which is a significant distinction. That Eicher has recorded far more Jarrett performances than have ever been or will ever be released in order to catch those moments of pure magic, those performances where Jarrett alone or with a group is truly in the moment, also demonstrates the high standard and level of discernment that both he and Jarrett apply to deciding what will ultimately be commercially distributed.

    That Jarrett has, for 20 years, chosen only to document live performances, rather than record in the studio, is another distinction, one that points to a belief that the audience is, indeed, an integral part of each and every performance.

    Jarrett comes across as deeply committed, albeit unquestionably idiosyncratic and unapologetically purist; while he admits to enjoying his time with Miles Davis — the only time in his career where he totally gave up acoustic piano for electric instruments — he also dismisses his electric work by calling such instruments “toys. Few, if any, pianists other than Jarrett insist that a choice of pianos be provided for each performance, so that he can choose the best one for the concert hall.

    And the sheer physicality of his playing, along with his total and absolute involvement with the music to the exclusion of anything else, paints a unique picture — as does his level of communication. Virtually all concert footage — including performances with Lloyd, Miles, the Standards Trio, and the American and European Quartets — demonstrates the incredible interaction that exists at every performance.

    Jarrett has, in recent years, come under criticism with regards to the Standards Trio which, at over 20 years, is the longest-lasting group of his career — and, with rare exception, is one of the longest collaborations in jazz period. Some say that the group has lost its creative edge. But watching the footage of the trio, and listening to Jarrett, Peacock and DeJohnette discuss how little rehearsal takes place — in fact, rehearsals typically only occur in sound checks before concerts, and it’s not uncommon for the trio to work on something at a sound check and never actually play it in concert — one is truly drawn into the sense of adventure applied to every performance.

    And the performance footage, in concert with the interview clips, manages to demonstrate the kinds of risks the trio take with each and every tune; how any one of the members can suggest a new direction with complete confidence that the others will follow.

    By the time Dibb’s documentary reaches its end, one may not be able to explicitly define the art of improvisation, but there are profound conclusions implicitly reached. And the documentary compels one to either play some Jarrett recordings or, if Jarrett’s music is new to the viewer, to go out and find some.

    The level of excitement and discovery is so vivid that even those who have become jaded with Jarrett in recent times may find themselves with renewed interest. While some bemoan Jarrett’s abandonment of writing, what becomes clear — and Jarrett articulates this at one point — is that every performance involves the act of composition. And that, perhaps more than anything, is the true meaning of improvisation.

    Visit Keith Jarrett on the web.

    Interviews with: Keith Jarrett, Manfred Eicher, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette, Steve Cloud, Scott Jarrett, George Avakian, Gary Burton, Tashinari Koinuma, Chick Corea, Charlie Haden, Dewey Redman, Rose Anne Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Jon Christensen, Palle Danielsson

    Chapter Listing: Essentially an Improviser; Three is Not a Crowd; Small Hands; A Potential Star; Moments to Echo; Solo; Invader in the Ranks; Sounds and Pulses; Musical Seduction; The European Group; Sacrifices; Epilogue Bonus Features: The Keith Jarrett Trio, Live in Concert perform “Butch and Butch ; Extra interviews with Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette

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    Keith Jarrett - The Art of Improvisation

    Jazz – Keith Jarrett The Art of Improvisation Part 9/10. Exclusive Interviews

    Jazz: Keith Jarrett The Art of Improvisation Part 9/10. Exclusive Interviews with Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack Dejohnette.

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    Keith Jarrett’s sheet music transcriptions are available from our Library.

    Keith Jarrett: The Art of Improvisation

    While he can often engender all manner of contention and argument, it’s unquestionable that Keith Jarrett is one of the most significant pianists to emerge in the second half of the 20th Century.

    An artist who has done it all — performed his own sometimes lyrical, sometimes free-spirited compositions with two groundbreaking quartets in the ’70s; taken solo improvisation to a whole new level with a series of important recordings including the classics Facing You and The Köln Concert; contributed a fresh spontaneity to the Great American Songbook with his Standards Trio; tackled the challenging classical repertoires of Bach, Mozart and Shostakovich and composed his own classical works; and played in landmark groups including Charles Lloyd in the ’60s and Miles Davis in the ’70s — Jarrett is also more than a little enigmatic.

    Fastidious, perfectionist and, some might argue, highly controlled in his life, Jarrett paradoxically defines the concept of pure abandon in his playing.

    With a life’s work that, classical repertoire aside, has always been about spontaneous creation, Jarrett is in an especially capable position to shed light on the true meaning of improvisation. And so, British producer/director Mike Dibb, responsible for ’02’s The Miles Davis Story, has fashioned a new documentary which, while never explicitly defining what that elusive meaning is, nevertheless manages — after 85 minutes and a series of remarkably erudite interviews with Jarrett and those who have been close to him over the past 30 years — to create a vivid impression that is both inspirational to aspiring musicians and uniquely clarifying to others who want to understand the process of how musicians create something out of nothing.

    Rather than present a chronological examination of Jarrett’s life thus far, Dibb chooses, much like Jarrett’s own work, to use a seemingly non-linear approach that focuses on Jarrett’s improvisational process although, in the final analysis — just like Jarrett’s extemporizations — there is an arc. Beginning with the Standards Trio, then jumping back to his early days and ultimately ending with his European Quartet including saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Palle Danielsson and drummer Jon Christensen, what becomes evident is that Jarrett’s goal has essentially been the same as when, precociously, he would add both his own original compositions and spontaneous creations to the classical repertoire of recitals dating back as early as when he was only eight years old.

    Amongst the many interviews with past and present collaborators including Garbarek, Danielsson, Christensen, Charlie Haden, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette, Chick Corea, Gary Burton and Dewey Redman, perhaps the most significant footage is that with ECM label owner and producer Manfred Eicher, with whom Jarrett found the perfect creative partner early in his career. Jarrett goes as far as saying that his albums are the product of two people — himself and Eicher — which is a significant distinction.

    That Eicher has recorded far more Jarrett performances than have ever been or will ever be released in order to catch those moments of pure magic, those performances where Jarrett alone or with a group is truly in the moment, also demonstrates the high standard and level of discernment that both he and Jarrett apply to deciding what will ultimately be commercially distributed. That Jarrett has, for 20 years, chosen only to document live performances, rather than record in the studio, is another distinction, one that points to a belief that the audience is, indeed, an integral part of each and every performance.

    Jarrett comes across as deeply committed, albeit unquestionably idiosyncratic and unapologetically purist; while he admits to enjoying his time with Miles Davis — the only time in his career where he totally gave up acoustic piano for electric instruments — he also dismisses his electric work by calling such instruments “toys. Few, if any, pianists other than Jarrett insist that a choice of pianos be provided for each performance, so that he can choose the best one for the concert hall. And the sheer physicality of his playing, along with his total and absolute involvement with the music to the exclusion of anything else, paints a unique picture — as does his level of communication.

    Virtually all concert footage — including performances with Lloyd, Miles, the Standards Trio, and the American and European Quartets — demonstrates the incredible interaction that exists at every performance.

    Jarrett has, in recent years, come under criticism with regards to the Standards Trio which, at over 20 years, is the longest-lasting group of his career — and, with rare exception, is one of the longest collaborations in jazz period. Some say that the group has lost its creative edge. But watching the footage of the trio, and listening to Jarrett, Peacock and DeJohnette discuss how little rehearsal takes place — in fact, rehearsals typically only occur in sound checks before concerts, and it’s not uncommon for the trio to work on something at a sound check and never actually play it in concert — one is truly drawn into the sense of adventure applied to every performance.

    And the performance footage, in concert with the interview clips, manages to demonstrate the kinds of risks the trio take with each and every tune; how any one of the members can suggest a new direction with complete confidence that the others will follow.

    By the time Dibb’s documentary reaches its end, one may not be able to explicitly define the art of improvisation, but there are profound conclusions implicitly reached. And the documentary compels one to either play some Jarrett recordings or, if Jarrett’s music is new to the viewer, to go out and find some.

    The level of excitement and discovery is so vivid that even those who have become jaded with Jarrett in recent times may find themselves with renewed interest. While some bemoan Jarrett’s abandonment of writing, what becomes clear — and Jarrett articulates this at one point — is that every performance involves the act of composition. And that, perhaps more than anything, is the true meaning of improvisation.

    Categories
    Keith Jarrett - The Art of Improvisation

    Keith Jarrett Interview: February 2009

    Keith Jarrett Interview: February 2009

    In 1999, in a major broadsheet feature, Geoff Dyer, author of the critically acclaimed jazz novel But Beautiful, referred to Keith Jarrett (b.1945)  as “The greatest living jazz musician.” It was not the first time, and it certainly will not been the last time, he has been referred to in such terms. He is, after all, one of just a handful of jazz musicians who have become a legend during their own lifetime.

    Keith Jarrett Solo Tribute FULL CONCERT

    Jarrett’s recording career neatly divides itself into three periods, the early Atlantic years, the Impulse! years and his ECM years. While it is fair to say his Atlantic and Impulse! years (plus a dalliance with Columbia in between) represent a portrait of the artist as a young man, his career, from Facing You from 1972 to the present day, documented by the ECM label, reveals the flowering of an astonishing talent, not just in jazz, but in improvised music and classical music as well.

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    The piano solo concert format, almost single handedly popularized by Jarrett in the 1970s, has  led to some of his best loved recordings, including 1975’s Köln Concert, which has now sold well over three million copies. In 1988 a Bach/Jarrett keyboard cycle was initiated by ECM’s classical imprint the ECM New Series, beginning with The Well Tempered Clavier Book 1 (piano) and Book 2 (harpsichord) and in 1991 he went on to record Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues to world-wide critical acclaim.

    Download Keith Jarrett’s sheet music transcriptions from our Library

    In 1983 Jarrett embarked on a new venture in the jazz field, the formation of a jazz trio with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette. For some while he had been playing “Over the Rainbow” as an encore at his solo concerts and he decided to form a group to explore the American Songbook – and beyond – explaining to Musician magazine that year, “Some of the things you hear with the group are fun: the fun of being able to relate to something and not care what it is, and just take it. But when you play alone, whatever you hear, you can’t have fun with it because you just have it to yourself.” After travelling the world performing solo concerts for eight years, Jarrett, it seemed, was missing interaction with other musicians.

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    In 2008, ECM celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the formation of the trio with the re-release of their first three albums as Setting Standards in a specially packaged and priced box set. As the Swiss jazz writer Peter Rüedi shrewdly noted in the liner notes, “From the very beginning Jarrett emphasized two imperatives: they must take the standards seriously as great if unrecognized art on a small scale, and they had to do so from an up-to-date and radically improvisational vantage point. Once the musicians entered the studio the effect was astonishing. The old tunes unleashed a rush of emotions, a delight in streams of collective communication, without preconditions, following not only the skeletal changes but the melodic lines of force in the originals.”

    After recording enough material for two albums of standards, the trio felt so elated they decided to try something else. It resulted in the third album in the ECM box set, Changes where other than Jarrett’s composition “Prism,” the music was spontaneously conceived. Since then, what has become known as “The Standards Trio” has built a substantial discography on the ECM label, including two further albums of spontaneous interaction.

    With the recent release of Yesterdays, a session capturing the trio in top form from 1991, it seemed appropriate to begin my interview with Keith Jarrett by discussing this latest release and then briefly reflect on a over quarter of a century of music-making with the trio, in both the “Standards” and free collective improvisational contexts. Other issues he talks frankly and engagingly about are the importance of melody and meaning in jazz improvisation, the transferability of skills from classical to jazz, his practice regime and more. What gradually emerges is a portrait of an intensely dedicated musician restlessly challenging himself to achieve the highest standards he can possibly attain in creative music making.

    Keith Jarrett Full Interview Conducted By Stuart Nicholson:
    February 2009

    Q: Yesterdays was recorded in 2001 and to me it’s at once intense,
    creative yet playful and seems to encapsulate your remarks in the
    LA Times that jazz musicians don’t have to break down doors all the
    time. So what is your rationale when you select pieces to perform
    with the trio?

    KJ: Rationale? I don’t have one, I don’t have a conscious concept.
    Just to give you an example. Tribute [the double CD set of
    standards – plus two Jarrett originals – recorded October 15, 1989
    at Philharmonie, Köln] was a tribute to Nancy Wilson, Charlie
    Parker, Coltrane and people like that in jazz. There was quite an indepth
    review of it, I’m not sure if it was a German reviewer or could
    even been British, anyway, it was very in-depth and he had
    developed this theory that as we were playing each song we were
    quite aware of who the recipient of this tribute was. I had to debunk
    his whole theory when he talked to me a little bit, I said not only
    have you developed this theory, painstakingly probably, and worked
    it out but I have to tell you that you’re absolutely not correct. There
    was no thought of these singers and players at the time we did the
    playing – that came after the fact when I realised there was a
    connection between the songs and what someone had done, for
    example, when I think of “All the Things You Are” I think of Sonny
    Rollins, and so on. So there is no rationale, no game plan with the
    trio.

    Q: So you just hit on songs?

    KJ: That’s about as in-depth as you get! I hit on them, like baseball
    or something. For example, if you take Yesterdays, if I were to
    analyse the different facets of it and say what was the rationale for
    those particular choices I couldn’t – I remember we were coming
    out of three or four concerts that were all free music [with the trio],
    and then we did a soundcheck in the hall [April 30, 2001 at
    Metropolitan Festival Hall, Tokyo] and it seemed like songs would
    work better than free stuff and we had not played any tunes at all on
    this trip, yet. So one of the things you hear [on the album] is relief,
    we were just relieved not to have to be in charge of every split
    second, so answering your original question, we didn’t feel we had
    to push the envelope as we had been pushing the envelope at those
    other four concerts for every split second. Rather than rationale
    there are reasons that provoke us into saying yes, this works, no this
    doesn’t work, this hall is good for this, it’s not good for this, and
    then the music arrives in a certain package. For example, the whole
    music of The Survivor’s Suite [recorded Ludwigsberg, Germany
    April 1976 and released by ECM] was written – and this is
    something that’s perhaps not known widely at all – that suite of
    pieces was written specifically for Avery Fisher Hall in New York,
    because I knew we were going to play there, I think it was opposite
    Monk as part of the festival. I knew from playing in Avery Fisher
    Hall many times the sound was not precise enough onstage to play
    fast tempos, [the sound] got blurred – so I decided to write the
    music for that evening. I felt it was important as an evening of
    music and that’s the first place we played it and it was written for
    that hall and then it became something we did at other places. So
    there was a rationale to that, but I think very few people would ever
    say, “Would you conceive, Mr. Jarrett, of writing for a specific hall?”
    I probably would say, “No.” But the answer lies in the fact that I
    knew the hall to be very poor for certain kinds of things and if you
    listen to The Survivor’s Suite you’ll notice there are no fast tempos.

    Q: Interesting. Religious music, of course, is conceived entirely with
    the acoustic space in mind.

    KJ: That’s right. Anything on that record was “free” speed, not
    tempo speed, so that was that story. I think that explains more or
    less how we go about this stuff.

    Q: Yesterdays – you mention you did four free concerts beforehand,
    but 2001 was actually a very rich period for the trio [four albums
    were recorded from the trio’s 2001 tours]

    KJ: Ah, yes. I was the first person to notice, of course, because I
    have a list “must come out” releases. This tape must come out, this
    tape – forget it, we don’t need this. So I had recordings from all over
    the place from a few different years, and I made list on a couple of
    sheets of paper in case my plane went down or something silly like
    that, and someone would see that and know what I wanted next.
    And it’s a funny thing. I noticed that in the end, although I was
    choosing from over several years, I kept choosing pre-9/11 on the
    year 2001. And I have no explanation for that.

    Q: Well, I was going ask if the inner man was celebrating putting
    that awful illness behind you [Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, popularly
    known as ME, which afflicted Jarrett from the autumn of 1996 for
    over two years].

    KJ: Yes. That could be. If that’s true then there’s something going
    on now too. It started at the end of [2008] at Carnegie Hall with the
    trio and everything jumped, skyrocketed!

    Q: Well, I hope it’s being documented. Can we go back to the
    beginning of the trio, and the ECM three CD box set Setting
    Standards which documents its beginnings [Standards Vol. 1 and
    Standards Vol. 2 and Changes recorded January 1983]. What was
    the ethos of the trio then, and how it has evolved?

    KJ: Well, interestingly it evolved all by itself, as long as we keep the
    same principals just not possessing the music as though it’s ours
    and just going in as a player in a group. It evolved like that, it
    depends on the purity of Gary and Jack and I at that time, and that’s
    all it depends on – plus our health of course – but really the purity
    of intent. There’s not another group that has this MO, at least I’ve
    never heard of one, but it’s not that we’re casual, we’re the exact
    opposite. I’m not hearing any more, like I heard ten years ago, “Why
    are they still playing standards?” I’m not hearing this from critics.
    I’m seeing them saying just listen to them playing, not so much
    “that’s the third time they’ve played this song,” but the fact we’re
    changing without any preconceived notion of what kind of that
    change should be.

    Q: Equally, the Standards Trio has always had its alter ego, The
    Changes Trio

    KJ: Yes

    Q: And later albums such as Inside Out [recorded at London’s
    Festival Hall in July 2000] and Always Let Me Go [the two CD set
    recorded in Japan in April 2001] prompt me to ask about this aspect
    of the trio’s performances. Sometimes you impose form, sometimes
    the roles of the instruments change and I was wondering if you get
    the same degree of fulfilment playing in the freer realm as you do
    playing – for want of a better word – inside.

    KJ: Well, we’re a little bit busier, so it’s a little harder to feel
    fulfilled! But Gary told me something interesting after he heard
    Always Let Me Go, he said, “Really this is the only group I’ve ever
    played with” – and he’s had a lot of free experience, he was with
    Albert Ayler and playing with a lot of guys playing free music – he
    said, “this is the only group where it constantly changes inside of the
    freedom and it’s not boring. It isn’t like you start out in high gear
    and that’s where you stay and no colours ever shift.” But it’s not
    something I’d want to do constantly, because it’s like going outside
    your planet, at some point you’ve got to come back.

    Q: Can you expand on how you collectively approach this area of
    improvising?

    KJ: Well, to me it’s like applying the solo gestalt to three people, and
    trying to lead, without being a leader – if the bottom feels like it’s
    going to fall out finding some little spice to throw up in the air, so
    there is some element – it isn’t typical free music, it’s more like
    three stream-of-consciousness’s. I’m more in charge when we’re
    playing free stuff than when we’re playing tunes because I’ve had
    such an enormous amount of experience playing from zero in solo
    concerts, so I know I’m hearing the guys looking to me for little road
    signs, it’s good because what it means is those are the moments
    when the music does shift and the colour does change, otherwise it
    would be just be like sweating and playing triple forte! Maybe Jack
    starts it by playing something and I have to find a way in, and since
    I have the only instrument that has to do with harmony per se, I’m
    the one who has to deal with structure also, they don’t necessarily.
    All through my jazz listening life, I was always more interested in
    listening to piano-less groups than with piano, so its hard to be a
    pianist in a free situation because the instrument itself is looking at
    you and saying “Why aren’t you using combinations of my notes?”
    So it’s a kind of give and take, a lot of free players will probably not
    consider those albums really free music, but my answer to them, if
    they were ever to say that, is the answer I gave someone when I gave
    a Bach transcription as an encore for a solo concert. He came
    backstage and decried the fact that it was not completely
    improvised, and I said “Yes it was.” And he said, “No it was a Bach
    piece.” And I said, “But I didn’t plan on playing it!”

    Q: Touché! One important aspect of your playing is your respect for
    melody, both written and improvised. I wonder if you could let me
    have your perspective on the importance of melody, which, to me at
    least, is often being lost in jazz in favour of patterns.

    KJ: Yes, I agree. I would say the “cleverness” syndrome has taken
    the place of melody. It’s like everyone has come down with this
    terrible disease in jazz. First of all you are always expected to do
    your own material, which is a strange thing to do if you’re a poor
    composer but a great player. If you are a great player and luckily you
    know what great melody is about things can happen that can’t
    happen otherwise. There was a class on melody when I went to
    Berklee school, I didn’t learn anything in that class but I thought it
    was an immensely innovative idea. I already felt I knew what
    melody was and what good melody was. It was held by a guitarist
    and I can’t think of his name, I think he was from the South West,
    the deal was you’d go in and it was like a melody class, melody
    writing – and it was like Jeez, what’s this about? And that was
    exactly the point, it was boring in its concept but it provoked the
    awareness that – in other word, if you need to be made conscious of
    something the only way to do that is by finding how bad you are at
    it. One of the first exercises we were given was eight bars and you
    could only use whole notes and half notes and you’re supposed to
    write a melody and bring it in. It’s almost what I’d tell piano
    students, they’d play a lot of licks, I could tell they were not coming
    from them, they were coming from mechanical patterns. And they
    would say, “How do you do what you do?” And I would say, “Don’t
    even ask that question, ask yourself why do you do what you do? Do
    you like what you just played or not?” “Well no. Not really” And I’d
    say, “Okay, I want you to play a fifth in your left hand, C and G, any
    fifth, anywhere, in your left hand. And just wait and if you don’t
    hear anything in your head to play don’t start playing and when you
    do start playing, if it’s not something you like, stop.” And they come
    back and say, “You know, I never discover anything I like and I wait
    forever and nothing happens and nothing goes through my head.”
    And I’d go, “Okay, that’s the first stage. Keep doing it.” With melody
    Ornette is a good example, there’s naivety in his music, but there’s
    something natural there that you can’t teach. It’s either there or it’s
    not, and I’m not sure there are rules, like there are in architecture. If
    you graph a good melody it probably looks good as a graph. I’m
    working on the Bach violin concertos now to play with a violinist
    and some of the slow movements, if you just look at [the sheet
    music] the intervallic motion and the immense amount of juice
    that’s there is in the shapes, something very, very meaningful in the
    shapes even on the page. When I look at music, I can tell by looking
    at it if there is anything to do with melody in this music, because
    there should be a shape there that gets you intrigued, and it has to
    be asymmetrical, a really good melody stands out as a perfect thing,
    and it couldn’t be bettered. If it can’t be bettered then it’s a good
    melody. And then there’s the harmony. It depends on how a person
    writes, but what I used to do was I’d have the melody start on paper,
    I just was so involved in getting it down the way I heard it I’d just
    write a bass note just so I’d know what the contrapuntal
    relationship is. I would say that people who write using chords and
    melody as a guide are most of the time going to be bad melody
    writers. Because chords are vertical and melodies are lateral so if
    you start thinking of chords too early in the writing of something,
    you may overlook the one great thing you could have come up with
    in the melody. And then there is this mystery place in the melody
    where you don’t know what chords should be there, and that’s what
    you have to discover later. You just have to come up with voice
    leading or some chordal – there’s a piece I wrote called “So Tender,”
    which is on a couple of our albums, the trio recorded it, and I did it
    with Airto and when I did it with Airto, Ron Carter was playing bass
    and it was in the studio and he looked at the music and said, “This
    can’t be right.” And I said, “What do you mean Ron?” And he said,
    “Well, the second eight bar phrase starts with a dominant chord,”
    and I said, “That’s right Ron.” He said, “How can that be? It’s just
    not…” He was thinking from his rule book. I said, “Ron, wait until
    you here the whole piece, you’re looking at the chords. Wait until
    you see how the melody and chords connect, and then tell me it’s
    wrong.” And he didn’t say a word after that! It’s a matter of how the
    multiplicity of elements connect that makes the melody and the
    voices below the melody make perfect sense and that is something
    you might never guess from only looking at one of those elements.

    Q: One of the problems for pedagogy, of course, is that there is no
    such thing as a definition for “a beautiful melody.”

    KJ: Many, many great composers – let’s say Prokofiev, for example.
    An incredible melodist, he strings the melody out over a longer
    period of time than you would expect and because of that you
    become intrigued. Like, we thought this would resolve itself last
    week! But it’s still going on and there are still more chords to be
    found there, more groundwork that somehow makes sense. That’s a
    certain kind of magic and I don’t think you can teach it.

    Q: I think so too. Today you have to have the instant melody, or
    instant hook, for instant gratification. We have spoken in the past
    about Mozart, who was a supreme melodist

    KJ: Yes

    Q: And I wonder how his concertos have helped in terms of touch
    and expressivity in your jazz work, the transferability of skills from
    one discipline to another.

    KJ: Well, if you take a slow movement in a concerto by Mozart,
    almost any one! There are phrases that are so simple and so
    profound at the same time that you realise that if you can apply this
    to a song – I discovered something recently that took me my entire
    life to get to this realisation, I’ll tell you what this was in a second –
    if you take this concept that maybe you have learned from playing
    Mozart where you realise it can sound like nothing or it can sound
    like the most beautiful thing in the world, and it depends on your
    touch and phrasing on, let’s say three notes that are basically
    quarter notes ascending in a, let’s say, a C# minor triad up to the
    octave. If you discover the secret in that music, its meaning, you can
    apply it to other things. So if I want to play a ballad and I know the
    words, then I can – I discovered this recently – I can actually do
    more to the song and the meaning of a song on piano than a singer
    could do if they are singing it and using the words. For example, it’s
    hard to know what to do with this one phrase in “Over the Rainbow”
    where you have to go down low and you say, [sings] “Birds fly over
    the rainbow,” how do you get anything out of “birds” as a singer?
    And you have to go down for a low note! But on piano, since you’re
    doing an instrumental version you can actually continue to keep the
    whole meaning of the song intact while you’re playing the note that
    would be the word “birds.” No mater how good the singer, they’re
    always going to be stuck with the sound [of “bird”], as an
    instrumentalist you’re not stuck with that sound, so the integrity
    can come closer to the song than anybody could sing it. So I guess
    one of the things I took from Mozart is that it further refined my
    touch to the point where I could play “words” without having to say
    “birds” or, say, “if.” It’s hard to sing “if” as anything other than a
    short sound, but on piano you can make “if” mean something – the
    meaning of “if,” not the sound of “if” – and I just discovered that,
    let’s say three, four months ago. I was doing a private project for
    myself in the studio, trying to get into a state of mind that would
    provoke – I was intending a state of mind, let’s put it that way – and
    I realised that much of what I was doing was from pieces I had
    heard sung, so I knew the words. So I’m not playing these songs like
    a jazz musician wanting to play jazz on them, this was an attempt at
    playing them even straighter than Melody at Night, With You, for
    example [the 1999 album which marked Jarrett’s return to
    performing after suffering the debilitating effects of Chronic Fatigue
    Syndrome] and have it be the loss of love and have it be this rubato
    place that was sad and lonely, like the Frank Sinatra album Only the
    Lonely, which I consider one of his greatest things. Almost all these
    songs came to me from vocalists versions, in other words I heard
    them sung by somebody, and this is the weird thing. I brought the
    tapes into the house, then I played the record – it was mostly
    records – and then I put the tape on [I did of the same song] and
    then I thought, “Keith, this is idiotic. It’s going to blow your thing
    and you’re going to give up the project because the singer is always
    going to beat the piano out, the piano goes ‘clang, clang, clang’ and
    the singer is singing the words, and I always wanted the piano to
    sound like a voice.” I’m getting ready to get depressed, but I think
    it’s worth it, I have to persevere, I have to listen to this. And in every
    case I tried, the reference singing version of these songs was inferior
    to what I had just done with it on piano in the sense of the meaning
    of the song. My whole theory all along had been to try and get as
    close to the vocal version as you can because the words is what the
    song is about, and the words describe the entire feeling and you
    gotta get that right, but I never realised you can surpass the words.

    Q: That is very interesting, because you tend to think of the voice as
    being the most direct expression of human emotion.

    KJ: Yes, and I still think it is, but the problem, I think, is we’re stuck
    with words and I was playing this clanging semi- percussive
    instrument called a piano and it was more convincing than the
    references I was reviewing

    Q: In terms of emotion

    KJ: In terms of emotion. I just thought I don’t even have to release
    this stuff, I have just performed an experiment that nobody else has
    performed – to my knowledge – and succeeded in challenging
    myself to a challenge I didn’t realise I was challenging myself to!

    Q: Just returning to Mozart’s slow movements, and there is a
    problem for me with young and not so young musicians rushing for
    the sanctuary of double time when playing ballads as soon as
    possible, it seems

    KJ: Yes, oh yes. And also like in conversations, people don’t know
    when to be quiet, including me. When I had Chronic Fatigue
    Syndrome, you brought that up earlier, I had the unfortunate luxury
    of listening to everything I recorded – if I wanted to! And I found
    out I was not at all impressed and not at all satisfied how things had
    – it wasn’t that I didn’t like it, there was so much more I had to do
    that I hadn’t got around to correcting, and that takes a lot of
    experience. [So when I returned to playing after the illness] I’d hear
    myself play something on the piano and I’d think, “No, that’s not
    the me that’s sitting at the piano, that’s the previous me that liked
    that chord so much and kept playing that chord forever.” Now I
    knew that because going through the Chronic Fatigue thing I had
    listened to tapes of myself and I realised I wasn’t aware of this as I
    wished I was, I wasn’t that conscious [of that] as I wanted to be. If
    there’s one thing I don’t think young players of today realise how
    much more important it is to look at what they’re not doing than
    what they are doing. Somebody I know in London said she knows a
    lot of jazz players and they go hang out, while they hang out they’re
    playing music and the music that they’re playing is basically what
    they’re learning. Like the Rolling Stones, they mist have listened to
    hundreds of blues guys because that was what they were trying to
    do. But what you have to do is listen to everything, listen to what
    you’ve never heard before. When I was a kid, I already knew this
    somehow. I think my curiosity saved my soul because I spent every
    penny of what little money I had on a record of a composer I had
    never heard of or go to the library and get something I never knew
    existed. If your ears are not open to everything possible, then they
    literally don’t know what is possible.

    Q: Well, yes, in jazz the last twenty years certain area of jazz have
    become very self referential

    KJ: Yes. Well the same girl said “I wish I was around in the Sixties.”
    And I said, “I’m glad I was!”

    Q: Manfred Eicher too, has said musically it was such a creative
    time.

    KJ: Yes, he has.

    Q: Melody can be a lifeline to an audience in improvised music, do
    you think there is any balance to be struck here, between melody
    and improvisation, if at all?

    KJ: I don’t think there should be a balance, everybody has a blood
    stream, emotions, a heart. If musicians are open to everything they
    can hear, something is going to connect to someone, everybody in
    the audience will have a moment when they are connected to what
    is going on, and at that moment they will wonder “What else is
    going on? If that’s so great then I had better pay attention to the rest
    of this, even though I’m not sure what I think of this. If you have
    some limitations, or you’re not working on your instrument or
    you’re not really serious, that’s when you have to worry what you
    present to the audience because somehow you have to maintain a
    career and you’re not doing the work. One of my friends said to me
    a couple of weeks ago, he said, “You know what really makes me
    happy, when you say ‘I have to go practise.” He said, “I don’t know if
    people know how much work you’re doing, but I know it’s paying
    off.” That was his take on it. This is an ancillary topic to what we
    were talking about, but I think it is connected, musicians think in
    general, and what I used to think years ago, is that you have to find
    you’re voice. That is what you work on for I don’t know how many
    number of years. The things you like are the things you want to play
    and when you find yourself playing something you don’t like, that
    means it’s not you, so you eliminate it from who you are on the
    instrument, so you end up with a so-called voice of your own. But
    the fallacy in that – first of all you end up lumping yourself in with
    the average audience member who will hear something they like
    and they’ll hear something they don’t like and they’ll say that was
    good because I liked it, and that was not good, because I didn’t like
    it. What a player has got to do is get the ability to drop all that stuff.
    I remember walking on stage, we took a break in Belgium, it was
    with Aldo Romano and the French bass player J. F. Jenny-Clark,
    he’s not alive anymore. And as we walked back onstage I realised I
    had found my voice and now I could play the piano. And that’s
    really just step one. So now you have to step up to your instrument
    and you have to have absolute faith that who you are who you are.
    But you can’t restrict what you play because of that, and you can’t
    play only things you think you like, because I had this experience,
    starting with Radiance [the solo concert recorded on October 27,
    2002 at Festival Hall, Osaka], and from then on it’s more conscious
    since then, that if I don’t let my fingers find things to play that I
    have never heard, I’m actually not satisfied. I have to play
    something that surprises me too, not something I either “like” or
    “don’t like” but just the element of “What is that??” kind of thing.
    Like you can’t freeze it in time, it has just gone by, and I started to
    realise there’s a key here, that there is no freedom until you get to
    that place. The rest of it is like putting barbed wire around yourself
    and saying this is my voice now, I’m protecting it from all the bad
    guys. And the audience is going to recognise that if I play the same
    way all the time.

    Q: I see what you’re saying – how can you expect the audience be
    surprised with what you are playing if you’re not surprising yourself.

    KJ: The audiences are pretty hip when they are sitting in their seats,
    they’re aware of the fact they don’t really want to hear the same
    thing. Not exactly. And if I give them an encore and it happens to be
    a song they’ve heard they will applaud, but I know they’re there
    primarily for an experience and not primarily to have nostalgia.

    Q: You mentioned the quartet earlier, do you see a role for that
    again in your music?

    KJ: I am basically never thinking of the future, I actually have
    things from the past, believe it or not there’s a sequel to Spirits, that
    was done on all electric instruments: two guitars, electric bass,
    drums, percussion, voice and occasionally something else

    Q: When did you do this?

    KJ: Shortly after I did Spirits in the late 1980s, and this has been
    resting in my house ever since and I played it for a couple of people
    recently and they go, “Oh my God! This has to come out, because
    nobody is going to believe this stuff!” And one of the things about it
    is, I’m playing all the instruments but the thing I really get a kick
    out of it every time I hear it is how tight the rhythm section is. It’s
    like the best feel on some of these things I could ever get because I
    knew what I wanted, when you’re with percussionists their sense of
    time is slightly different, every drummer is different, and you’re
    playing piano and you’re trying to blend and find where the
    rhythmic point is, and it’s a blend of all those guys. But here its so
    contagious because [the rhythm section] was all me, and I’m not
    saying this from an egotistical standpoint, it’s, I guess the word is
    contagious, it’s like hearing Miles’ rhythm section at the Blackhawk
    and you hear how they are at one, every beat at exactly the same
    precise place, and for me it was all my sense of time. The reason I
    bring that up is there is not just a future, there’s a past. At the
    moment the Trio is going to go the length, the next release is going
    to be the Paris and the London concerts together, there was
    something special going on there.

    Q: If you were to take this last twenty-six years of the Trio from
    Setting Standards until now, what was you’re practise regime then
    and what is it now, and how did it affect your music, en route, so to
    speak.

    KJ: This could be an entire book! Well, I’ll take it as bookends. I
    didn’t used to practise at all [when I was younger] as I was so busy
    working, and when you’re busy working you don’t notice you can’t
    change habit patterns when you’re gigging constantly. Most of the
    early time I didn’t feel the need to practice, I’d practise, of course,
    but when I felt like it. Now, I practice every day. That’s the bookend
    version. I practice at what would be concert time

    Q: That is interesting

    KJ: Yes. That’s the major practice portion of the day, and sometimes
    before dinner, I’m working on Bach also but now the weather is
    getting nicer it’s harder to do! It’s based on instinct. When I was
    working on preparing the harpsichord recordings of Bach, the piano
    got closed up and I played nothing but harpsichord for months
    because those two instruments are not even similar at all. When I
    was working on Mozart, all I was practising was Mozart, when I am
    working on this Bach project until after this weekend I’m not
    practising anything but that, then two weeks before a concert in
    Naples, which is a solo concert, I will try and let my fingers
    remember that they are not playing Bach anymore, and the different
    muscle groups involved with solo they are immensely different, the
    muscle groups, the posture, everything changes, so really it depends
    on what I am about to do. If I was about to go on tour with the Trio,
    which will be true when I’m home in June, I will be practising by
    playing or discovering whether they are some tunes I feel like
    initiating with the Trio. Somebody once said, some jazz player once
    said, “Don’t practice, play.” And that’s what you do when you
    prepare for that. It’s not like you’re practising anything, you just
    have to play through things forever and you find out if you are
    innovative that day or not, and you have to assess yourself, “Why
    didn’t I have a good practice session that day?” It’s like being your
    own psychiatrist.

    Q: And finally, solo concerts, the ultimate challenge. Can you talk a
    little about your philosophy and approach to the solo concert.

    KJ: Those things are like commissioned works. I’m paid to turn up
    and to create a brand-new thing, that’s the most serious thing I do in
    terms of focus and craziness and impossibility, and you don’t know
    [in advance] if you have anything to show. People should know this.
    When I won the Polar Prize [in 2003, awarded by the Royal Swedish
    Academy of Music] they had a seminar there and the first thing I
    said was, “I know you are all mostly music students and I want you
    to know it does not get easier than it is right now.” Because basically
    the freer you are, the more you are in charge, and the more you’re in
    charge, unless you’re willing to be a mediocre critic, you don’t put
    up with any bullshit from yourself. And that’s basically the essence
    of coming up with stuff that’s worth paying a ticket price for. The
    rest is noodling, I would say, and if there is anything the world does
    not need at the moment it’s noodling…It’s hard to do music and to
    make a mark in some way – when you get a letter from two people
    in Beirut saying your music kept them alive through the war there,
    or you get a phone call from a Swiss painter to say I saved his life,
    myself and Bach that is, these are not the things to take lightly. It’s a
    serious job and the world doesn’t understand it because they’ve seen
    entertainers so often they think musicians are entertainers, but
    they’re not.

    Q: An important note to end on. Thank you for speaking to me

    KJ: A pleasure.

    Categories
    Keith Jarrett - The Art of Improvisation

    Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation Part 8/10 remastered

    Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation Part 8/10 remastered by Sheet Music Library

    Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation Part 8/10 remastered https://sheetmusiclibrary.website/ Watch Part 1 here: https://youtu.be/iorjfNH-NH8 Part 2 here: https://youtu.be/c0Byu3HsULw Part 3 here: https://youtu.be/HQMQFx3GZDE Part 4: https://youtu.be/5foIr7S-Y3U Part 5: https://youtu.be/lo1NruM4ZaI Part 6: https://youtu.be/A3k-0U0jAwI Part 7: https://youtu.be/At7FKwqRh00 (Part 8: https://youtu.be/UrR1ZyswD04)

    Watch also Exclusive Interviews with Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette.: https://youtu.be/in8swOjn8GY (part 9) and https://youtu.be/zVOyUlwP9iM (part 10/10).

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    “In this in-depth portrait of one of the world’s superstars of Jazz, pianist Keith Jarrett talks about the range of his music, the importance of improvisation, the great artists he has worked with, nd about the highs and lows of his life. Further iniaghts are provided by fellow musicians, family members and other musical assocaites. Incorporating recordings and rare archive footage of concerts dating back to thr 1960s and including such greats as Miles Davis and Charles Lloyd, this first-ever major documetary has been made with the full cooperation of Keith Jarrett himself.” “With, in order of appearance, Keith Jarrett, Manfred Eicher, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette, Steve Cloud, Scott Jarrett, George Avakian, Gary Burton, Toshinari Koinuma, Chick Corea, Charlie Haden, Dewey Redman, Rose Anne Jarrett and Palle Danielsson.” Directed and narrated by Mike Dibb. Programme consultant; Ian Carr.

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    Keith Jarrett - The Art of Improvisation

    Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation Part 7/10 remastered

    Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation Part 7/10 remastered

    Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation Part 7/10
    remastered by https://sheetmusiclibrary.website/
    Keith Jarrett’s sheet music transcriptions are available from our Library.

    Watch Part 1 here: https://youtu.be/iorjfNH-NH8
    Part 2 here: https://youtu.be/c0Byu3HsULw

    Part 3 here: https://youtu.be/HQMQFx3GZDE
    Part 4: https://youtu.be/5foIr7S-Y3U
    Part 5: https://youtu.be/lo1NruM4ZaIPart 6: https://youtu.be/A3k-0U0jAwI

    If you love Music, please donate us to help this site being up and running. Thanks!

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    “In this in-depth portrait of one of the world’s superstars of Jazz, pianist Keith Jarrett talks about the range of his music, the importance of improvisation, the great artists he has worked with, nd about the highs and lows of his life. Further iniaghts are provided by fellow musicians, family members and other musical assocaites. Incorporating recordings and rare archive footage of concerts dating back to thr 1960s and including such greats as Miles Davis and Charles Lloyd, this first-ever major documetary has been made with the full cooperation of Keith Jarrett himself.”

    keith jarrett sheet music score download partitura partition spartiti 楽譜
    Categories
    Keith Jarrett - The Art of Improvisation

    Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation Part 6/10

    Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation Part 6/10

    Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation Part 6/10 remastered by https://sheetmusiclibrary.website/

    Watch Part 1 here: https://youtu.be/iorjfNH-NH8 Part 2 here: https://youtu.be/c0Byu3HsULw Part 3 here: https://youtu.be/HQMQFx3GZDE Part 4: https://youtu.be/5foIr7S-Y3U Part 5: https://youtu.be/lo1NruM4ZaI

    If you love Music, please donate us to help this site being up and running. Thanks!

    https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=BATGSPYYMT99W

    In this in-depth portrait of one of the world’s superstars of Jazz, pianist Keith Jarrett talks about the range of his music, the importance of improvisation, the great artists he has worked with, nd about the highs and lows of his life. Further iniaghts are provided by fellow musicians, family members and other musical assocaites.

    Incorporating recordings and rare archive footage of concerts dating back to thr 1960s and including such greats as Miles Davis and Charles Lloyd, this first-ever major documetary has been made with the full cooperation of Keith Jarrett himself.” “With, in order of appearance, Keith Jarrett, Manfred Eicher, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette, Steve Cloud, Scott Jarrett, George Avakian, Gary Burton, Toshinari Koinuma, Chick Corea, Charlie Haden, Dewey Redman, Rose Anne Jarrett and Palle Danielsson.”

    Directed and narrated by Mike Dibb. Programme consultant; Ian Carr.

    keith jarrett sheet music score download partitura partition spartiti 楽譜