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King Crimson – Radical Action (To Unseat The Hold Of Monkey Mind)
Mel Collins: Saxes & Flute Tony Levin: Basses & Stick Jakko Jakszyk: Guitar, Voice & Flute Robert Fripp: Guitar & Keyboards Pat Mastelotto: Drums Bill Rieflin: Drums & Keyboards Gavin Harrison: Drums
Dave Salt: Tour manager Mark Vreeken: FOH sound design Trevor Wilkins: Video/Audio Recording Jason Birnie: Stage Manager/drums Biff Blumfumgagne: Guitars/Sax & Flute Michele Russotto: Bass/drums John Armitage: Guitars/backline Ian Bond: Audio Tech Russ Wilson: Audio Tech Adrian Holmes: Merchandise Katrina Doy: Production Assistant David Bushong: Driver
Audio pre-production – Jakko Jakszyk & Gavin Harrison Digital Assembly – Alex R Mundy Mixing Engineer – Chris Porter Mixed by Chris Porter, Robert Fripp and David Singleton
“Cyclops” Cover Painting – Francesca Sundsten Additional Artwork & Cyclops re-imagining – Ben Singleton DGM logo – Steve Ball Booklet photography by Claudia Hahn www.heliocyan.com (P. 5, 9, 11, 12 left, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19) and Trevor Wilkins (P. 2, 6, 10, 12 centre, 13, 15, 20, 22) Gatefold inner sleeve photos by Scarlet Page Design and layout – Hugh O’Donnell All artists own the copyright in their work. Produced by Robert Fripp and David Singleton on behalf of King Crimson.
The original chords and melody for “Starless” were written by John Wetton, who intended the song to be the title track of the group’s previous album Starless and Bible Black. Robert Fripp and Bill Bruford initially disliked the song and declined to record it for that album. Instead the group chose an instrumental improvisation as the title track.
However, “Starless” was later revived, its lyrics altered and a long instrumental section (based on a bass riff written by Bruford) added to it, and performed live between March and June 1974. For the Red recording sessions, the lyrics were again altered (with contributions by Richard Palmer-James). The introductory theme, originally played by David Cross, was taken over by the guitar, with Fripp making minor alterations to the melody. As the title “Starless and Bible Black” had already been used, the original title was shortened to “Starless”.
The piece is 12 minutes and 18 seconds in length, the longest on the Red album. It starts with mellotron strings, electric guitar and a saxophone. These introduce a vocal segment in conventional verse-chorus structure.
The middle section of the song builds, in 13/4. Starting with John Wetton’s bass, shortly after joined by Bill Bruford on percussion. Robert Fripp’s guitar repeats a single note theme on two adjacent guitar strings. Bruford’s drumming maintains its irregularity.
The song’s final section begins with an abrupt transition to a fast, jazzy saxophone solo with distorted guitars and bass, expressive tribal drumming, and the tempo doubling up to a time signature of 13/8. Variations of the middle section’s bassline are played under Fripp’s layered and overdriven guitar parts. The saxophone returns to play a reprise of the vocal melody, then the final section is repeated with more overdubs from Fripp. Finally, the song ends with a reprise of the opening melody, played on the saxophone instead of the guitar.
Though the phrase “Starless and Bible Black” serves both as the chorus for the song’s vocal segment and as the title of an instrumental track on the album Starless and Bible Black, there is little apparent similarity between the two pieces.
The song has been covered live by Asia, a supergroup of which John Wetton was a founding member; 21st Century Schizoid Band, a group made up of earlier members of King Crimson (save for Jakko Jakszyk, who would later join King Crimson); After Crying, a Hungarian symphonic rock band, with guest vocals by Wetton; U.K., one of whose members was once again Wetton; and District 97, yet again featuring vocals from Wetton.
The Canadian band FM performed a live version of “Starless” in concert in 1977 which was captured on reel-to-reel by band member Nash the Slash, shortly after the recording their classic 1st album Black Noise . It came to light as part of a rarities CD, Lost In Space in 2001. It is a unique cover version as the band consisted of a non-traditional trio; Cameron Hawkins (vocals, bass, keyboards/synthesizers, bass pedals), Martin Deller (Drums & Percussion) and Nash the Slash (electric mandolin, electric violin, synthesizers).
“Ode to Joy” (German: “An die Freude”) is an ode written in the summer of 1785 by German poet, playwright, and historian Friedrich Schiller and published the following year in Thalia. A slightly revised version appeared in 1808, changing two lines of the first and omitting the last stanza.
“Ode to Joy” is best known for its use by Ludwig van Beethoven in the final (fourth) movement of his Ninth Symphony, completed in 1824. Beethoven’s text is not based entirely on Schiller’s poem, and introduces a few new sections. His tune (but not Schiller’s words) was adopted as the “Anthem of Europe” by the Council of Europe in 1972 and subsequently by the European Union. Rhodesia’s national anthem from 1974 until 1979, “Rise, O Voices of Rhodesia”, used the tune of “Ode to Joy”.
An die Freude
Freude, schöner Götterfunken, Tochter aus Elysium, Wir betreten feuertrunken, Himmlische, dein Heiligtum! Deine Zauber binden wieder Was die Mode streng geteilt*; Alle Menschen werden Brüder* Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
Wem der große Wurf gelungen Eines Freundes Freund zu sein; Wer ein holdes Weib errungen Mische seinen Jubel ein! Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund! Und wer’s nie gekonnt, der stehle Weinend sich aus diesem Bund!
Freude trinken alle Wesen An den Brüsten der Natur; Alle Guten, alle Bösen Folgen ihrer Rosenspur. Küsse gab sie uns und Reben, Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod; Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben und der Cherub steht vor Gott.
Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen Durch des Himmels prächt’gen Plan Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn, Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen.
Seid umschlungen, Millionen! Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt! Brüder, über’m Sternenzelt Muß ein lieber Vater wohnen. Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen? Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt? Such’ ihn über’m Sternenzelt! Über Sternen muß er wohnen.
Ode to Joy
Joy, beautiful spark of Divinity [or: of gods], Daughter of Elysium, We enter, drunk with fire, Heavenly one, thy sanctuary! Thy magic binds again What custom strictly divided;* All people become brothers,* Where thy gentle wing abides.
Whoever has succeeded in the great attempt, To be a friend’s friend, Whoever has won a lovely woman, Add his to the jubilation! Yes, and also whoever has just one soul To call his own in this world! And he who never managed it should slink Weeping from this union!
All creatures drink of joy At nature’s breasts. All the Just, all the Evil Follow her trail of roses. Kisses she gave us and grapevines, A friend, proven in death. Salaciousness was given to the worm And the cherub stands before God.
Gladly, as His suns fly through the heavens’ grand plan Go on, brothers, your way, Joyful, like a hero to victory.
Be embraced, Millions! This kiss to all the world! Brothers, above the starry canopy There must dwell a loving Father. Are you collapsing, millions? Do you sense the creator, world? Seek him above the starry canopy! Above stars must He dwell.
Schiller wrote the first version of the poem when he was staying in Gohlis, Leipzig. In the year 1785 from the beginning of May till mid September, he stayed with his publisher Georg Joachim Göschen in Leipzig and wrote “An die Freude” along with his play Don Carlos.
Schiller later made some revisions to the poem which was then republished posthumously in 1808, and it was this latter version that forms the basis for Beethoven’s setting. Despite the lasting popularity of the ode, Schiller himself regarded it as a failure later in his life, going so far as to call it “detached from reality” and “of value maybe for us two, but not for the world, nor for the art of poetry” in an 1800 letter to his long-time friend and patron Christian Gottfried Körner (whose friendship had originally inspired him to write the ode)
John Coltrane composed these words in December 1964, as part of a poem he called A Love Supreme. He included the poem in the inside gatefold of an album by the same name, released the following year. That same year, a young couple in San Francisco heard Coltrane in concert, sharing a jolt of higher purpose when he seemed to fix them in his sights with the bell of his saxophone.
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That couple, Franzo and Marina King, went on to establish a church devoted to Coltrane and his spiritual message, incorporating A Love Supreme as their chief liturgical text. Their house of worship — known today as the St. John Will-I-Am Coltrane African Orthodox Church — has survived decades of change in a gentrifying city, while making a few notable revisions to its charter.
In this 20-minute documentary short, Jazz Night in America pays a visit to the Coltrane Church, thoughtfully tracing its winding history — including a tumultuous period when Alice Coltrane, John’s widow, bestowed and then revoked her support. We’ll delve into the spiritual mysteries of A Love Supreme, from “Acknowledgment” to “Psalm,” and consider what it means to be of service — to a calling, to a community, and to the music that sparked it all.
John William Coltrane (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes and was at the forefront of free jazz. He led at least fifty recording sessions and appeared on many albums by other musicians, including trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk.
Over the course of his career, Coltrane’s music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. He remains one of the most influential saxophonists in music history. He received numerous posthumous awards, including a Pulitzer Prize in 2007, and was canonized by the African Orthodox Church. His second wife was pianist and harpist Alice Coltrane. The couple had three children: John Jr. (1964–1982), a bassist; Ravi (born 1965), a saxophonist; and Oran (born 1967), also a saxophonist.
Personal life and religious beliefs
Coltrane was born and raised in a Christian home. He was influenced by religion and spirituality beginning in childhood. His maternal grandfather, the Reverend William Blair, was a minister at an African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in High Point, North Carolina, and his paternal grandfather, the Reverend William H. Coltrane, was an A.M.E. Zion minister in Hamlet, North Carolina. Critic Norman Weinstein noted the parallel between Coltrane’s music and his experience in the southern church, which included practicing music there as a youth.
In 1955, Coltrane married Naima (née Juanita Grubbs). Naima Coltrane, a Muslim convert, heavily influenced his spirituality. When they married, she had a five-year-old daughter named Antonia, later named Syeeda. Coltrane adopted Syeeda. He met Naima at the home of bassist Steve Davis in Philadelphia. The love ballad he wrote to honor his wife, “Naima”, was Coltrane’s favorite composition.
In 1956 the couple left Philadelphia with their six-year-old daughter in tow and moved to New York City. In August 1957, Coltrane, Naima and Syeeda moved into an apartment on 103rd St. and Amsterdam Ave. in New York. A few years later, John and Naima Coltrane purchased a home at 116-60 Mexico Street in St. Albans, Queens. This is the house where they would break up in 1963.
About the breakup, Naima said in J. C. Thomas’s Chasin’ the Trane, “I could feel it was going to happen sooner or later, so I wasn’t really surprised when John moved out of the house in the summer of 1963. He didn’t offer any explanation. He just told me there were things he had to do, and he left only with his clothes and his horns. He stayed in a hotel sometimes, other times with his mother in Philadelphia.
All he said was, ‘Naima, I’m going to make a change.’ Even though I could feel it coming, it hurt, and I didn’t get over it for at least another year.” But Coltrane kept a close relationship with Naima, even calling her in 1964 to tell her that 90% of his playing would be prayer. They remained in touch until his death in 1967. Naima Coltrane died of a heart attack in October 1996.
In 1957, Coltrane had a religious experience that may have helped him overcome the heroin addiction and alcoholism he had struggled with since 1948. In the liner notes of A Love Supreme, Coltrane states that in 1957 he experienced “by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life. At that time, in gratitude, I humbly asked to be given the means and privilege to make others happy through music.”
The liner notes appear to mention God in a Universalist sense and do not advocate one religion over another. Further evidence of this universal view can be found in the liner notes of Meditations (1965) in which Coltrane declares, “I believe in all religions.”
In 1963, he met pianist Alice McLeod. He and Alice moved in together and had two sons before he became “officially divorced from Naima in 1966, at which time [he] and Alice were immediately married.” John Jr. was born in 1964, Ravi in 1965, and Oranyan (“Oran”) in 1967.
According to the musician Peter Lavezzoli, “Alice brought happiness and stability to John’s life, not only because they had children, but also because they shared many of the same spiritual beliefs, particularly a mutual interest in Indian philosophy. Alice also understood what it was like to be a professional musician.”
The last of these describes, in Lavezzoli’s words, a “search for universal truth, a journey that Coltrane had also undertaken. Yogananda believed that both Eastern and Western spiritual paths were efficacious, and wrote of the similarities between Krishna and Christ. This openness to different traditions resonated with Coltrane, who studied the Qur’an, the Bible, Kabbalah, and astrology with equal sincerity.” He also explored Hinduism, Jiddu Krishnamurti, African history, the philosophical teachings of Plato and Aristotle, and Zen Buddhism.
In October 1965, Coltrane recorded Om, referring to the sacred syllable in Hinduism, which symbolizes the infinite or the entire universe. Coltrane described Om as the “first syllable, the primal word, the word of power”. The 29-minute recording contains chants from the Hindu Bhagavad Gita and the Buddhist Tibetan Book of the Dead, and a recitation of a passage describing the primal verbalization “om” as a cosmic/spiritual common denominator in all things.
Coltrane’s spiritual journey was interwoven with his investigation of world music. He believed in not only a universal musical structure that transcended ethnic distinctions, but also being able to harness the mystical language of music itself. His study of Indian music led him to believe that certain sounds and scales could “produce specific emotional meanings.” According to Coltrane, the goal of a musician was to understand these forces, control them, and elicit a response from the audience.
He said, “I would like to bring to people something like happiness. I would like to discover a method so that if I want it to rain, it will start right away to rain. If one of my friends is ill, I’d like to play a certain song, and he will be cured; when he’d be broke, I’d bring out a different song, and immediately he’d receive all the money he needed.”
David Warren Brubeck (/ˈbruːbɛk/; December 6, 1920 – December 5, 2012) was an American jazz pianist and composer, considered one of the foremost exponents of cool jazz. Many of his compositions have become jazz standards including “In Your Own Sweet Way” and “The Duke”. Brubeck’s style ranged from refined to bombastic, reflecting both his mother’s classical training and his own improvisational skills. His music is known for employing unusual time signatures as well as superimposing contrasting rhythms, meters, and tonalities.
Often incorrectly attributed to Brubeck, the song “Take Five“, which has become a jazz standard, was composed by Brubeck’s long-time musical partner, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond. Appearing on one of the top-selling jazz albums, Time Out, and written in 5/4 time, “Take Five” has endured as a jazz classic associated with Brubeck.
Dave Brubeck, declared a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, was one of the most active and popular jazz musicians in the world. His experiments with odd time signatures, improvised counterpoint, and a distinctive harmonic approach were the hallmarks of his unique musical style.
Born into a musically inclined family — his two older brothers were professional musicians — he began taking piano lessons from his mother, a classical pianist, at age four. After graduating from College of the Pacific in 1942, he enlisted in the Army, and while serving in Europe led an integrated G.I. jazz band.
At the end of World War II, he studied composition at Mills College with French classical composer Darius Milhaud, who encouraged him to introduce jazz elements into his classical compositions. This experimentation with mixed genres led to the formation of the Dave Brubeck Octet that included Paul Desmond, Bill Smith, and Cal Tjader. In 1949, Brubeck formed an award-winning trio with Cal Tjader and Ron Crotty, and in 1951 expanded the band to include Desmond. Brubeck became the first jazz artist to make the cover of Time magazine, in 1954, and in 1958 performed in Europe and the Middle East for the U.S. State Department, leading to the introduction of music from other cultures into his repertoire. In 1959, the Dave Brubeck Quartet recorded an experiment in time signatures, Time Out. The album sold more than a million copies, and Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo a la Turk,” based on a Turkish folk rhythm, and Desmond’s “Take Five” appeared on jukeboxes throughout the world.
Throughout his career, Brubeck continued to experiment with integrating jazz and classical music. In 1959, he premiered and recorded his brother Howard’s Dialogues for Jazz Combo and Orchestra with the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein. In 1960, he composed Points on Jazz for the American Ballet Theatre, and in later decades composed for and performed with the Murray Louis Dance Co. His musical theater piece, The Real Ambassadors starring Louis Armstrong and Carmen McRae, was also written and recorded in 1960 and performed to great acclaim at the 1962 Monterey Jazz Festival. The classic Dave Brubeck Quartet with Paul Desmond, Eugene Wright, and Joe Morello was dissolved in December 1967 and Brubeck’s first of many oratorios, The Light in the Wilderness, premiered in 1968.
He received many honors in the U.S. and abroad for his contribution to jazz, including the National Medal of Arts, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Kennedy Center Honors, and the Austrian Medal of the Arts. In 2008, Brubeck received the Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy from the U.S. State Department for “introducing the language, the sounds, and the spirit of jazz to new generations around the world.”
Jazz at Oberlin, Original Jazz Classics, 1953 Time Out, Columbia, 1959 The Real Ambassadors, Columbia/Legacy, 1961 Classical Brubeck, Telarc, 2002 London Flat, London Sharp, Telarc, 2004
Born into a musical family, Rachmaninoff took up the piano at the age of four. He graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1892, having already composed several piano and orchestral pieces. In 1897, following the negative critical reaction to his Symphony No. 1, Rachmaninoff entered a four-year depression and composed little until successful therapy allowed him to complete his enthusiastically received Piano Concerto No. 2 in 1901. In the course of the next sixteen years, Rachmaninoff conducted at the Bolshoi Theatre, relocated to Dresden, Germany, and toured the United States for the first time. Rachmaninoff often featured the piano in his compositions, and he explored the expressive possibilities of the instrument through his own skills as a pianist.
Rachmaninoff wrote five works for piano and orchestra: four concertos—No. 1 in F-sharp minor, Op. 1 (1891, revised 1917), No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 (1900–01), No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 (1909), and No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40 (1926, revised 1928 and 1941)—plus the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Of the concertos, the Second and Third are the most popular.
Rachmaninoff also composed a number of works for orchestra alone. The three symphonies: No. 1 in D minor, Op. 13 (1895), No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27 (1907), and No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44 (1935–36). Widely spaced chronologically, the symphonies represent three distinct phases in his compositional development. The Second has been the most popular of the three since its first performance. Other orchestral works include The Rock (Op. 7), Caprice bohémien (Op. 12), The Isle of the Dead (Op. 29), and the Symphonic Dances (Op. 45).
He wrote two piano sonatas, both of which are large scale and virtuosic in their technical demands. Rachmaninoff also composed works for two pianos, four hands, including two Suites (the first subtitled Fantasie-Tableaux), a version of the Symphonic Dances (Op. 45), and an arrangement of the C-sharp minor Prelude, as well as a Russian Rhapsody, and he arranged his First Symphony (below) for piano four hands. Both these works were published posthumously.
He completed three one-act operas: Aleko (1892), The Miserly Knight (1903), and Francesca da Rimini (1904). He started three others, notably Monna Vanna, based on a work by Maurice Maeterlinck; copyright in this had been extended to the composer Février, and, though the restriction did not pertain to Russia, Rachmaninoff dropped the project after completing Act I in piano vocal score in 1908; this act was orchestrated in 1984 by Igor Buketoff and performed in the U.S. Aleko is regularly performed and has been recorded complete at least eight times, and filmed. The Miserly Knight adheres to Pushkin’s “little tragedy”. Francesca da Rimini exists somewhat in the shadow of the opera of the same name by Riccardo Zandonai.
Rachmaninoff’s style was initially influenced by Tchaikovsky. By the mid-1890s, however, his compositions began showing a more individual tone. His First Symphony has many original features. Its brutal gestures and uncompromising power of expression were unprecedented in Russian music at the time. Its flexible rhythms, sweeping lyricism, and stringent economy of thematic material were all features he kept and refined in subsequent works.
Following the poor reception of the symphony and three years of inactivity, Rachmaninoff’s individual style developed significantly. He started leaning towards sumptuous harmonies and broadly lyrical, often passionate melodies. His orchestration became subtler and more varied, with textures carefully contrasted. Overall, his writing became more concise.
Especially important is Rachmaninoff’s use of unusually widely spaced chords for bell-like sounds: this occurs in many pieces, most notably in the choral symphonyThe Bells, the Second Piano Concerto, the E-flat major Étude-Tableaux (Op. 33, No. 7), and the B minor Prelude (Op. 32, No. 10). “It is not enough to say that the church bells of Novgorod, St Petersburg and Moscow influenced Rachmaninov and feature prominently in his music. This much is self-evident. What is extraordinary is the variety of bell sounds and breadth of structural and other functions they fulfill.”
He was also fond of Russian Orthodox chants. He used them most perceptibly in his Vespers, but many of his melodies found their origins in these chants. The opening melody of the First Symphony is derived from chants. (The opening melody of the Third Piano Concerto, on the other hand, is not derived from chants; when asked, Rachmaninoff said that “it had written itself”.)
Rachmaninoff’s frequently used motifs include the Dies Irae, often just the fragments of the first phrase. Rachmaninoff had great command of counterpoint and fugal writing, thanks to his studies with Taneyev. The above-mentioned occurrence of the Dies Irae in the Second Symphony (1907) is but a small example of this. Very characteristic of his writing is chromatic counterpoint.
This talent was paired with a confidence in writing in both large- and small-scale forms. The Third Piano Concerto especially shows a structural ingenuity, while each of the preludes grows from a tiny melodic or rhythmic fragment into a taut, powerfully evocative miniature, crystallizing a particular mood or sentiment while employing a complexity of texture, rhythmic flexibility and a pungent chromatic harmony.
His compositional style had already begun changing before the October Revolution deprived him of his homeland. The harmonic writing in The Bells was composed in 1913 but not published until 1920. This may have been due to Rachmaninoff’s main publisher, Gutheil, having died in 1914 and Gutheil’s catalog being acquired by Serge Koussevitsky. It became as advanced as in any of the works Rachmaninoff would write in Russia, partly because the melodic material has a harmonic aspect which arises from its chromaticornamentation.
Further changes are apparent in the revised First Piano Concerto, which he finished just before leaving Russia, as well as in the Op. 38 songs and Op. 39 Études-Tableaux. In both these sets Rachmaninoff was less concerned with pure melody than with coloring. His near-Impressionist style perfectly matched the texts by symbolist poets. The Op. 39 Études-Tableaux are among the most demanding pieces he wrote for any medium, both technically and in the sense that the player must see beyond any technical challenges to a considerable array of emotions, then unify all these aspects.
The composer’s friend Vladimir Wilshaw noticed this compositional change continuing in the early 1930s, with a difference between the sometimes very extroverted Op. 39 Études-Tableaux (the composer had broken a string on the piano at one performance) and the Variations on a Theme of Corelli (Op. 42, 1931). The variations show an even greater textural clarity than in the Op. 38 songs, combined with a more abrasive use of chromatic harmony and a new rhythmic incisiveness.
Music theorist and musicologist Joseph Yasser, as early as 1951, uncovered progressive tendencies in Rachmaninoff’s compositions. He uncovered Rachmaninoff’s use of an intra-tonal chromaticism that stands in notable contrast to the inter-tonal chromaticism of Richard Wagner and strikingly contrasts the extra-tonal chromaticism of the more radical twentieth century composers like Arnold Schoenberg. Yasser postulated that a variable, subtle, but unmistakable characteristic use of this intra-tonal chromaticism permeated Rachmaninoff’s music.
His reputation as a composer generated a variety of opinions before his music gained steady recognition around the world. The 1954 edition of the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians notoriously dismissed Rachmaninoff’s music as “monotonous in texture … consist[ing] mainly of artificial and gushing tunes” and predicted that his popular success was “not likely to last”. To this, Harold C. Schoenberg, in his Lives of the Great Composers, responded: “It is one of the most outrageously snobbish and even stupid statements ever to be found in a work that is supposed to be an objective reference.”
The Conservatoire Rachmaninoff in Paris, as well as streets in Veliky Novgorod (which is close to his birthplace) and Tambov, are named after the composer. In 1986, the Moscow Conservatory dedicated a concert hall on its premises to Rachmaninoff, designating the 252-seat auditorium Rachmaninoff Hall, and in 1999 the “Monument to Sergei Rachmaninoff” was installed in Moscow. A separate monument to Rachmaninoff was unveiled in Veliky Novgorod, near his birthplace, on 14 June 2009.
Rachmaninoff possessed extremely large hands, with which he could easily maneuver through the most complex chordal configurations. His left hand technique was unusually powerful. His playing was marked by definition—where other pianists’ playing became blurry-sounding from overuse of the pedal or deficiencies in finger technique, Rachmaninoff’s textures were always crystal clear.
Only Josef Hofmann and Josef Lhévinne shared this kind of clarity with him. All three men had Anton Rubinstein as a model for this kind of playing—Hofmann as a student of Rubinstein’s, Rachmaninoff from hearing his famous series of historical recitals in Moscow while studying with Zverev, and Lhevinne from hearing and playing with him.
The two pieces Rachmaninoff singled out for praise from Rubinstein’s concerts became cornerstones for his own recital programs. The compositions were Beethoven’s Appassionata and Chopin’s Funeral March Sonata. He may have based his interpretation of the Chopin sonata on that of Rubinstein. Rachmaninoff biographer Barrie Martyn points out similarities between written accounts of Rubinstein’s interpretation and Rachmaninoff’s audio recording of the work.
As part of his daily warm-up exercises, Rachmaninoff would play the technically difficult Étude in A-flat, Op. 1, No. 2, attributed to Paul de Schlözer.
From those barely moving fingers came an unforced, bronzelike sonority and an accuracy bordering on infallibility. Arthur Rubinstein wrote:
He had the secret of the golden, living tone which comes from the heart … I was always under the spell of his glorious and inimitable tone which could make me forget my uneasiness about his too rapidly fleeting fingers and his exaggerated rubatos. There was always the irresistible sensuous charm, not unlike Kreisler‘s.
Coupled to this tone was a vocal quality not unlike that attributed to Chopin’s playing. With Rachmaninoff’s extensive operatic experience, he was a great admirer of fine singing. As his records demonstrate, he possessed a tremendous ability to make a musical line sing, no matter how long the notes or how complex the supporting texture, with most of his interpretations taking on a narrative quality.
With the stories he told at the keyboard came multiple voices—a polyphonic dialogue, not the least in terms of dynamics. His 1940 recording of his transcription of the song “Daisies” captures this quality extremely well. On the recording, separate musical strands enter as if from various human voices in eloquent conversation. This ability came from an exceptional independence of fingers and hands.
Pyotr (Peter) Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born on May 7, 1840, in Votkinsk, Vyatka region, Russia. He was the second of six children (five brothers and one sister). His father, named Ilya Chaikovsky, was a mining business executive in Votkinsk. His father’s ancestors were from Ukraine and Poland. His mother, named Aleksandra Assier, was of Russian and French ancestry.
Tchaikovsky played piano since the age of 5, he also enjoyed his mother’s playing and singing. He was a sensitive and emotional child, and became deeply traumatized by the death of his mother of cholera, in 1854. At that time he was sent to a boarding school in St. Petersburg. He graduated from the St. Petersburg School of Law in 1859, then worked for 3 years at the Justice Department of Russian Empire. In 1862-1865 he studied music under Anton Rubinstein at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. In 1866-1878 he was a professor of theory and harmony at the Moscow Conservatory.
At that time he met Franz Liszt and Hector Berlioz, who visited Russia with concert tours. During that period Tchaikovsky wrote his first ballet ‘The Swan Lake’, opera ‘Eugene Onegin’, four Symphonies, and the brilliant Piano Concerto No1.
As a young man Tchaikovsky suffered traumatic personal experiences. He was sincerely attached to a beautiful soprano, named Desiree Artot, but their engagement was destroyed by her mother and she married another man. His homosexuality was causing him a painful guilt feeling. In 1876 he wrote to his brother, Modest, about his decision to “marry whoever will have me.” One of his admirers, a Moscow Conservatory student Antonina Ivanovna Milyukova, was persistently writing him love letters.
She threatened to take her life if Tchaikovsky didn’t marry her. Their brief marriage in the summer of 1877 lasted only a few weeks and caused him a nervous breakdown. He even made a suicide attempt by throwing himself into a river. In September of 1877 Tchaikovsky separated from Milyukova. She eventually ended up in an insane asylum, where she spent over 20 years and died. They never saw each other again. Although their marriage was terminated legally, Tchaikovsky generously supported her financially until his death.
Tchaikovsky was ordered by the doctors to leave Russia until his emotional health was restored. He went to live in Europe for a few years. Tchaikovsky settled together with his brother, Modest, in a quiet village of Clarens on Lake Geneva in Switzerland and lived there in 1877-1878. There he wrote his very popular Violin Concerto in D.
He also completed his Symphony No.4, which was inspired by Russian folk songs, and dedicated it to Nadezhda von Meck. From 1877 to 1890 Tchaikovsky was financially supported by a wealthy widow Nadezhda von Meck, who also supported Claude Debussy. She loved Tchaikovsky’s music and became his devoted pen-friend. They exchanged over a thousand letters in 14 years; but they never met, at her insistence. In 1890 she abruptly terminated all communication and support, claiming bankruptcy.
Tchaikovsky played an important role in the artistic development of Sergei Rachmaninoff. They met in 1886, when Rachmaninov was only 13 years old, and studied the music of Tchaikovsky under the tutelage of their mutual friend, composer Aleksandr Zverev. Tchaikovsky was the member of the Moscow conservatory graduation board.
He joined many other musicians in recommendation that Rachmaninov was to be awarded the Gold Medal in 1892. Later Tchaikovsky was involved in popularization of Rachmaninov’s graduation work, opera ‘Aleko’. Upon Tchaikovsky’s promotion Rachmaninov’s opera “Aleko” was included in the repertory and performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
In 1883-1893 Tchaikovsky wrote his best Symphonies No.5 and No.6, ballets ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘The Nutcracker’, operas ‘The Queen of Spades’ and ‘Iolanta’. In 1888-1889, he made a successful conducting tour of Europe, appearing in Prague, Leipzig, Hamburg, Paris, and London. In 1891, he went on a two month tour of America, where he gave concerts in New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. In May of 1891 Tchaikovsky was the conductor on the official opening night of Carnegie Hall in New York.
He was a friend of Edvard Grieg and Antonín Dvorák. In 1892 he heard Gustav Mahler conducting his opera ‘Eugene Onegin’ in Hamburg. Tchaikovsky himself conducted the premiere of his Symphony No.6 in St. Petersburg, Russia, on the 16th of October, 1893. A week later he died of cholera after having a glass of tap water. He was laid to rest in the Necropolis of Artists at St. Aleksandr Nevsky Monastery in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Stacey Kent (born March 27, 1968) is a Grammy-nominated American jazz singer. Kent was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) by the French Minister of Culture in 2009. She is married to saxophonist Jim Tomlinson.
Stacey Kent is a jazz singer in the mould of the greats, with a legion of fans worldwide, a host of honors and awards including a Grammy nomination, album sales in excess of 2 million, Platinum, Double-Gold and Gold-selling albums that have reached a series of No. 1 chart positions during the span of her career.
Her album, I Know I Dream: The Orchestral Sessions (Sony) has had more than 40 million streams, won ‘Album of the Year’ in the vocal category at the 2018 Jazz Japan Awards, and received glowing reviews, including a coveted five stars in Downbeat, and was described by All About Jazz as “intoxicating understatement at its finest…one more jewel in a discography with many, it’s one that deserves singling out for its luster.”
This comparative literature graduate with a passion for music, travelled to Europe to further her studies, and after receiving her degree from Sarah Lawrence College in NY, through a series of twists of fate, she found herself in London where she enrolled in a graduate music program at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she met her future husband and musical partner, Jim Tomlinson.
Kent’s musical journey began in her childhood with piano lessons. A keen ear and true voice lead her to search out opportunities to express her love of music. However, nothing suggested the shift from the academic path to the path that propelled her to international recognition as one of the foremost jazz singers of her generation. With a catalogue of 11 studio albums, including the Platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated Breakfast On The Morning Tram(EMI/Blue Note 2007) and an impressive list of collaborations, Stacey has graced the stages of more than 55 countries over the course of her career.
Kent paid her dues in the jazz clubs of London, before releasing the first of a series of albums for the Candid label, beginning with Close Your Eyes in 1997. Her second album, The Tender Trap (1999) brought her to the attention of US audiences with appearances on CBS Sunday Morning and NPR’s All Things Considered. Albums and awards followed, with Stacey winning the ‘Jazz Vocalist of the Year’ at the BBC Jazz Awards. The Boy Next Door (2003) was Stacey’s last Candid release and her first album to achieve Gold status.
During this period, Stacey cemented her reputation as a singer capable of putting a distinctive stamp on an impressive repertoire of standards. Her ability to communicate emotion through a nuanced and minimalist approach was showcased on Jim Tomlinson’s album, The Lyric (Token) which was awarded Album of The Year at the 2006 BBC Jazz Awards. This album brought her to the attention of Blue Note records with whom she signed in 2007. With each successive album, Stacey’s style has become more honed as her artistic outlook has broadened, leading her beyond the Great American Songbook to French chanson and Brazilian music which form an ever-larger part of her repertoire.
Stacey’s repertoire also includes a growing number of songs written for her by Jim Tomlinson with various lyricists, most notably the Nobel Prize-winning author, Kazuo Ishiguro. The idea of singing original compositions came up during a lunch with Ishiguro. The conversation turned to music, and the idea was hatched to write a series of songs for Stacey that distilled themes of memory, travel and love, that so frequently surfaced in her repertoire. From this conversation, the songs for Breakfast On The Morning Tram were conceived.
Almost overnight, Stacey transformed from being a singer of the Great American Songbook, to a singer with a highly distinctive and personal repertoire. The first collaboration between Ishiguro, the lyricist, and Tomlinson, the composer, The Ice Hotel, won first prize in the jazz category of the International Songwriting Competition. Since then, all of Stacey’s albums have been punctuated by original songs composed by Tomlinson with a variety of lyricists in English, French and Portuguese.
Kent has continued to pursue a frenetic recording and touring schedule. Her first album for Blue Note was followed in 2009 by the Gold-selling, all-French, Raconte-Moi which was that year’s biggest selling French language album outside of France. She was invited to perform an all-French program at the Francofolies Festival and was awarded the Chevalier Dans L’Ordre Des Arts et Des Lettres. Her first ever live album, Dreamer In Concert (EMI 2011), was followed by The Changing Lights (Warner 2013), which more than any other album, reveals the ever-present influence of Brazil in Stacey’s music.
Among French, Italian and German, Stacey also speaks Portuguese. She has toured widely in Brazil and collaborated with many of her heroes including Edu Lobo, Dori and Danilo Caymmi, Roberto Menescal, and most notably Marcos Valle, who invited her to celebrate his 50 years in music on the album, Ao Vivo (Sony 2013). A DVD and documentary of their collaboration and friendship was also released on Sony in 2016.
With Roberto Menescal, Stacey recorded Tenderly (Sony), an intimate collection of standards that showcases her crystalline voice and Menescal’s warm guitar. Jazzwise Magazine referred to the album as “an extremely beautiful meeting of minds” It is Menescal’s only full album as a jazz guitarist and demonstrates the debt he owes to the great Barney Kessel. As Kent’s first standards album in a decade, it shows her increasingly impressive and maturing interpretative gifts.
Whilst the COVID 19 pandemic has put Stacey’s concert appearances on pause, she has been busy recording from home and staying in touch with her fans through social media. She has recently released several recordings including Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds and Bill Wither’s Lovely Day, with messages of hope for these troubled times, as well as the EP, Christmas In The Rockies (Token 2020). Stacey is also currently releasing a series of singles with her long-standing piano accompanist, Art Hirahara, entitled Songs From Other Places, which will include, among others, new original songs from Jim Tomlinson & Kazuo Ishiguro.
Songs From Other Places will be released as a full album in autumn, 2021. Her forthcoming studio album, Summer Me, Winter Me, originally scheduled for release in October 2020 is now planned for release sometime in 2022.
In the 1990s, she began her professional career singing at Café Bohème in London’s Soho. After two or three years, she began opening for established acts at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London. In 1995, she appeared in Richard Loncraine‘s film “Richard III” (starring Ian McKellen), singing “Come Live with Me and Be My Love” (composed by Trevor Jones) at the Grand Ball celebrating the Yorkist triumph in the Wars of the Roses. Her first album, Close Your Eyes, was released in 1997. (An 11-track cassette release ‘Stacey Kent Sings’ was recorded in July 1995, which may be a set of demos).
Novelist Kazuo Ishiguro wrote the liner notes to Kent’s 2003 album, In Love Again. Ishiguro met Kent after he chose her recording of “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” as one of his Desert Island Discs in 2002. In 2006, Tomlinson and Ishiguro began to write songs for her. Ishiguro has said of his lyric writing that “with an intimate, confiding, first-person song, the meaning must not be self-sufficient on the page. It has to be oblique, sometimes you have to read between the lines” and that this realization has had an “enormous influence” on his fiction writing.
Tomlinson and Ishiguro have subsequently written songs for three more of her albums (Dreamer, The Changing Lights and I Know I Dream) and continue to write for her today.
Stacey Kent onstage in 2016
Kent’s album The Boy Next Door achieved Gold album status in France in September 2006. Breakfast on the Morning Tram (2007) achieved Platinum album status in France in November 2007 and Double Gold status in Germany in February 2008. Raconte-moi… was recorded in French and achieved Gold status in both France and Germany and became the second best selling French language album worldwide in 2010.
In 2013, Kent released The Changing Lights, a Brazilian-tinged album, covering bossa nova classics such as Jobim’s “How Insensitive” and again collaborating with Tomlinson and Ishiguro. In 2014, she left Warner Bros. and signed with Sony. Sony released Tenderly, an album of standards with Roberto Menescal, one of the founders of bossa nova. She met Menescal in Brazil in 2011 at the 80th birthday celebration of the Christ the Redeemer statue. They discovered they were fans of each other’s work and collaborated on an album of standards inspired by Menescal’s admiration for the duo of Julie London and Barney Kessel.
In 2014, Marcos Valle invited her to tour in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of his career. They recorded the album Ao Vivo and a DVD that was recorded live at the Birdland club in New York City and the Blue Note in Tokyo.
In 2017, Kent recorded her next album for Sony, I Know I Dream: The Orchestral Sessions, her first album with an orchestra, comprising 58 musicians with arrangements by Tommy Laurence, with music from the Great American Songbook, French chansons, songs by Edu Lobo, Jobim, Tomlinson, Ishiguro, Ladeira and his songwriting partner, Cliff Goldmacher from Nashville. Tomlinson and Goldmacher wrote the title song. By 2020, the album had reached 40 million streams.
In 2020, Kent released a series of singles and EPs, including “Christmas in the Rockies”, “Three Little Birds”, “Lovely Day”, “Landslide”, “I Wish I Could Go Travelling Again” as a duet with her longtime pianist, Art Hirahara.
For lyricists, dreams have long been the stuff that ballads are made of. In piano bars from the roaring ’20s to the present, crooners have offered up a succession of dreamy hits like “I’ll See You In My Dreams,” “This Time the Dream’s On Me,” “Dream, Dream, Dream.” And though instant popularity doesn’t guarantee that a song will endure, ask pedestrians on any city street to sing a few lines of “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” and its relevance shows.
Cass Elliott and The Mamas and The Papas‘ 1968 recording of “Dream a Little Dream of Me” sold nearly seven million copies almost 40 years after the music was composed by two relatively unknown musicians, Fabian Andre and Wilber Schwandt. The words were written by Gus Kahn, one of the most successful lyricists of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, and the same writer who gave us “Ain’t We Got Fun,” “It Had To Be You” and “Making Whoopie.”
Gus Kahn lived in Chicago. He began writing songs professionally at 23. His first song-writing partner was his wife, pianist and composer Grace Laboy. Soon he was writing lyrics to music by some of the biggest names in the business, Walter Donaldson, George Gershwin, Isham Jones, and Naceo Herb Brown.
“Johnny Mercer, who was one of the really other great lyric writers, used to call my father the tune hog,” Gus Kahn’s son, composer Donald Kahn remembers, “because my dad wrote with everybody and ‘Dream a Little Dream’ is a sterling example of it. My dad would get tunes from people and my mother would play the tunes for him and he would sit and grumble mostly.
“He always tried to keep his lyrics simple,” the younger Kahn explains, “but he also said that young men and women do not know how to say ‘I love you’ to one another so we say it for them in 32 bars. “
There’s considerable confusion as to when and where Fabian Andre and Wilber Schwandt wrote the music for “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” They played together in a band that toured the Midwest in 1930. Schwandt once recalled that they wrote the piece during a 10-minute break at a gig in Paw Paw, Michigan. Later he said they wrote it in Milwaukee. Wherever the music was written, Donald Kahn credits the melody and, in particular, its bridge, for making the song work.
“Being a musician myself I am very fond of the change in the bridge in which they go to a whole other very unusual key,” Kahn says. “Instead of going the obvious or the simple way it might have gone, it goes to a very interesting and new sounding key.
Over the years, “Dream a Little Dream” has been recorded by Kate Smith, Nat “King” Cole, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. But the definitive version was recorded by Cass Elliott and The Mamas and The Papas for the 1968 album, “The Papas and The Mamas.”
The Mamas and The Papas recorded “Dream a Little Dream” by chance. In 1950, in Mexico City, six-year-old Michelle Phillips met Fabian Andre, one of the song’s co-writers.
“He was just a fabulous rake,” Phillips recalls. “We liked him a lot. He was a big drinker, however. He loved to play the piano. He was–I have this image of Fabian at the piano all the time. I don’t have any other image of him, as a matter of fact. Just singing and playing and drinking at the piano.”
Almost 20 years later, in 1968, The Mamas and The Papas, Michelle and John Phillips, Denny Doherty and Cass Elliott, were rehearsing one day when Michelle got word that Fabian Andre had died in a fall down an elevator shaft in Mexico City.
“It was very shocking, you know,” says Phillips. “I said, can you imagine this guy who wrote this fabulous song–and John had remembered, at that point, that I had told him about Fabian and the song and we had never thought about it again until we were all sitting around that day discussing his death, when we started to pick out the song and–to see if we could remember the lyrics to it. And we said, `Cass, come here. Sing this.’ “
“Dream a Little Dream of Me” became Cass Elliott’s signature song. This was the kind of music she originally wanted to sing. Elliott’s dream was to perform on Broadway. After high school, she landed a part in the touring company of “The Music Man,” and once auditioned for a part that went to Barbra Streisand. In fact, Michelle Phillips says Cass Elliott was always somewhat jealous of Streisand, for the kind of singing and acting career she’d created for herself. But, Phillips says, Cass Elliott gave us something that Streisand could not.
“Barbra Streisand may have great pipes, but she could never sing that song in that way,” Phillips says. “She doesn’t have the absolute sweetness and love in her voice that Cass had. Cass may not be able to hold a note as long as Barbra Streisand, but to me, it’s always been more important to capture the meaning of the lyrics and to capture the love in the song. And that’s what Cass could do.”
Cass Elliott, this 1960s hippie singer, a child of hard anti-war ballads, connected with this gentle Depression-era song like no other. For the six years she performed solo, “Dream a Little Dream of Me” became a mainstay in her concerts and television appearances. On July 27th, 1974, Cass Elliott sang it for the last time at a sold-out concert at London’s Paladium. Two days later, she died in her sleep. Cass Elliott was 32 years old.
Recorded at Tokyo’s Koseinenkin Hall on 15 February 1985, this concerts offers the pianist at his heartfelt best in an intro as tender as a drizzling rain. So begins a smooth version of “I Wish I Knew,” through the lens of which bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette illuminate the spectrum of this format like few others can.
What distinguishes them, as made clear in this concert opener, is their consistent ability to surprise. Sure, the technical prowess required to carry off such florid versions of “If I Should Lose You” and “It’s Easy To Remember” is formidable to say the least, but how much more virtuosity there is to be savored in the ballads. The night-laden memories of “Late Lament” add softness to the set list’s emerging palette, even as they whisper in a language as crystalline as all the rest.
This is a diamond in which every occlusion represents an opportunity for clarity. “Stella By Starlight” starts with Peacock and Jarrett emoting in space and time without allegiance to either, working into a 14-minute groove so sublime that it melts. To be sure, the more upbeat tunes have a crispness all their own. “If I Should Lose You” finds Jarrett listening intently to his bandmates, who exchange tactile glances in anticipation of DeJohnette’s rolling play. But whether the drummer is riding the rails in “It’s Easy To Remember” or adding choice accents to a diagonal “God Bless The Child,” he leaves plenty of room for his audience to grow in kind.
Pianist, composer, and bandleader Keith Jarrett is one of the most prolific, innovative, and iconoclastic musicians to emerge from the late 20th century. As a pianist (though that is by no means the only instrument he plays), he literally changed the conversation in jazz by introducing an entirely new aesthetic regarding solo improvisation in concert.
He signed to ECM and released Facing You, a studio solo piano outing. 1975’s completely improvised live outing The Köln Concert became one of the best-selling solo piano albums in history. Jarrett‘s issued dozens of albums for ECM in a wide variety of settings: He led American and European trios and quartets simultaneously, worked on avant-classical and solo studio outings, and continued releasing solo piano concerts. In 1981 he debuted his “standards trio” with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette; they worked together for more than three decades.
He released several albums of classical piano recitals including works by Bach and Shostakovich. He returned to improvised solo recitals with La Scala in 1997. During the 21st century, Jarrett continued performing solo concerts — documented on 2011’s Rio and 2015’s Creation — and working with the standards trio intermittently while issuing archival recordings including A Multitude of Angels, a four-disc set of 1996 solo concerts from Italy.
Jarrett was born May 8, 1945 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. At the age of three he began playing piano. He undertook the study of classical music at age eight, and at 15 he studied formal composition before moving to Boston to study briefly at the Berklee College of Music. Still in his teens, Jarrett intended to further his academic work in Paris before deciding to move to New York in 1964 and become a jazz musician.
He entered the city’s vibrant scene by sitting in with veteran and aspiring players at clubs, including the Village Vanguard. His first touring gig was with Art Blakey’s New Jazz Messengers, where he remained until 1966. His lone recording with that band — which also featured trumpeter Chuck Mangione — was Buttercorn Lady, recorded live at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach. Jarrett joined Charles Lloyd‘s famed quartet in 1966. That band, which reflected the variety of changes taking place in jazz and popular music in general, achieved global success as both a recording and touring entity.
He left the group in 1968 and issued his first solo recording, Restoration Ruin, on the Vortex label. He played everything on the album including soprano saxophone, harmonica, drums, and guitar in addition to piano; he even sang. The album is mainly considered a curiosity in his catalog because it wasn’t a jazz album, but a folk-rock recording.
Regardless of how Jarrett regards it today, it stands as a brave undertaking from a young musician and paints an interesting view of his early thoughts in lieu of what he would accomplish later. Appearing the same year, he recorded Life Between the Exit Signs for Atlantic, where he led a trio whose rhythm section consisted of bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Paul Motian. This group — later a quartet with the addition of saxophonist Dewey Redman — would record together for 11 years and attain the status of jazz legends for their dynamic, groundbreaking interplay and improvisation.
The pianist briefly signed to Columbia, releasing one enduring album for the label, Expectations, in 1972; it featured his trio with guitarist Sam Brown and drummer/percussionist Airto. The year also proved fruitful for two other reasons. The first was Facing You, Jarrett‘s first solo piano recording for Manfred Eicher‘s young ECM label, an association that would become symbiotic by the end of the decade. Redman joined Jarrett‘s group in late 1971, and the first offering by the larger band was Birth, issued by Atlantic in 1972.
Jarrett began recording with a European group in the ’70s, the second of his three groups that would become legendary. His European quartet included saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Palle Danielsson, and drummer Jon Christensen; their debut, Belonging, appeared in 1974. Simultaneously, Jarrett remained busy with his American quartet and with recording experimentation. In the Light, which was released in 1974, was a double album that showcased his interest in composing modern classical music. His compositions were wide-ranging; among them were a string quartet, a brass quintet, and “Crystal Moment (Piece for Four Celli and Two Trombones).”
He also recorded a pair of albums co-led with Garbarek, Luminescence (1975), where the pair was aided by an orchestral string section, and the popular Arbour Zena, which included Haden on bass as well as chamber strings. In 1976, the provocative Hymns/Spheres, a double album of improvisations played on an enormous 18th century organ in the Benedictine Abbey Ottobeuren, appeared on ECM.
The pianist’s European quartet issued My Song in 1978, an album that brought more conservative jazz fans back to Jarrett‘s table, especially as it was surrounded by the releases of Bop-Be and The Survivor’s Suite, the first of two releases by his American quartet to appear on ECM. That band’s final album together, the live double album Eyes of the Heart, was released in 1979.
Jarrett kicked off the ’80s with Celestial Hawk: For Orchestra, Percussion and Piano, recorded at Carnegie Hall. This work wed his instinctual improvisational discipline on the piano to his formal compositional abilities in both vanguard classical music and jazz. That year, his European quartet also released the live Nude Ants — recorded at the Village Vanguard — and Sacred Hymns, a solo piano album of compositions by metaphysical philosopher/musician Georges Ivanovitch Gurdjieff.
In 1983, Jarrett began working in a trio with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette. It was the beginning of an association that has lasted ever since. Their initial session produced three albums: Standards, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and Changes (the last a set of free improvisations). Throughout the decade they alternated between recording standards and freely improvised sets, among them 1986’s Standards Live and 1989’s Changeless.
Jarrett also cut two deeply personal albums in the ’80s. In 1986, Spirits, a double album, featured him playing piano, flute, recorder, soprano saxophone, guitar, and percussion. Another double, Book of Ways from 1987, was completely performed on the clavichord.
While his first album of the ’90s was the solo Paris Concert, the trio was also busy touring. They stopped briefly to record Bye Bye Blackbird in 1991 as a memorial to Miles Davis. That said, Jarrett spent most of the decade’s first half recording classical music.
While on tour with the trio in Europe during 1996, Jarrett became ill with what was diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome. He battled the disease — caused by an infection from parasitic bacteria — for three years. While he recovered, ECM issued the 1995 solo concert La Scala in 1997, as well the trio document Tokyo ’96 in 1998.
During his illness in 1997, Jarrett gathered his strength and recorded the intimate Melody at Night, With You, in his home studio. It is a solo piano offering of short, straightforward interpretations of standards, ballads, folk songs, and a lone original; it is the most intimate recording in his oeuvre, and unlike anything else in his catalog. The album was released in 1999, the year he had recovered enough to begin touring again with his trio. Jarrett‘s first release of the 21st century, in fact, was Whisper Not, a collection of standards recorded on that tour.
The stellar solo piano effort The Carnegie Hall Concert, wherein the pianist created new rules for himself as a live improviser, also appeared that year. In 2008, The Cure was released. It was a prime live standards gig by the trio from 1990 that had been sitting in the vault.
In 2009, the Paris/London solo concerts appeared, followed in 2010 by a duet recording between the pianist and Haden entitled Jasmine. In 2011, Rio was released shortly after the concert took place — an anomaly in Jarrett‘s career. In 2012, ECM once more dug into its vaults and released Sleeper: Tokyo, April 16th, 1979, a previously unissued date by Jarrett‘s European quartet. His trio recorded at the Luzern Concert Hall in July of 2009; the concert was released as Somewhere in May of 2013.
In November of that year, ECM released No End, an archival home studio recording from 1986, on which he played all instruments, including piano, electric guitars, bass, tablas, recorder, and drums; it was followed in December with the complete reissue Concerts: Bregenz München, a three-disc set comprising two solo piano concerts from 1981. In June of 2014, more standards from the 2007 duet sessions with Haden that yielded Jasmine were released as Last Dance.
For the occasion of the pianist’s 70th birthday in May of 2015, ECM released two albums simultaneously: one was an orchestral classical recording of the pianist performing Barber‘s Piano Concerto and Bartók‘s Piano Concerto No. 3 with different orchestras. The second was a solo piano effort titled Creation. Departing from his usual practice of issuing complete concert recordings, this set offered handpicked and carefully sequenced selections from Jarrett‘s performances in Tokyo, Toronto, Rome, and Paris.
He followed this release in the fall of 2016 with the four-disc box A Multitude of Angels. This set documented his final four solo performances in 1996 in the cities of Modena, Ferrara, Torino, and Genova, before he was forced into hiatus to recover from chronic fatigue syndrome. The year 2018 saw the release of La Fenice, a double album documenting his solo piano concert at the Gran Teatro la Fenice in Venice, Italy, from July 2006. The album found the pianist channeling his inspirational flow into a suite of eight spontaneously created pieces that referenced everything from blues to vanguard dissonance.
In addition, it offered readings of the traditional “My Wild Irish Rose,” the standard “Stella by Starlight,” and a tender new reading of the pianist’s own “Blossom” for encores. The release of La Fenice coincided with Jarrett making history as the first jazz musician to receive the coveted Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the International Festival of Contemporary Music of the Biennale di Venezia. The award was previously presented to such contemporary composers as Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, György Kurtág, Sofia Gubaidulina, and Steve Reich.
Jarrett played at Carnegie Hall in February of 2017. It went so well he thanked the audience for “bringing me to tears,” and rescheduled for the following March, but abruptly canceled the performance and subsequent tour, citing “health issues.” In September of 2020, during an interview to promote the October release of the archival Budapest Concert from 2016, he told the New York Times’ Nate Chinen that he canceled his tour because he’d suffered two strokes, one in February of 2018 and another in May. They left him walking with the aid of a cane, and completely unable to use his left hand, making it unlikely that he would ever perform again.