A Multitude Of Angels – A review of the “new” Keith Jarrett solo album recorded by Jarrett himself

Ah, yet another blog post that starts with me complaining that I’m not writing often enough. I guess you don’t care about my excuses, so let me just say I really try to improve the frequency of my writing. So let’s stop whining and get into it.

A New Keith Jarrett Recording?

So, a new Keith Jarrett album! Out of the blue (at least to me)! Very nice surprise obviously for a blog that has Jarrett in the sub-title.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: I personally find the title quite cheesy (although Jarrett is very serious about it in the liner notes), and the cover even more so (which is sad given that I do quite like the general ECM sober cover style).

But let’s face it, you won’t buy this album for the title nor the cover, but for the music.

And we’re talking about A LOT of music. Should you decide to buy this on CD (do people still do this?), you’ll get 5 of them, should you decide to download, you may initially be disappointed to get only 12 files, but you’re still getting 4h57 for your money!

A Multitude Of Angels (ECM 2016)

Keith Jarrett A Multitude Of Angels Modena Ferrara Torino Genova Solo Concerts ECM 2016

So where is this album all over sudden coming from? Well unfortunately it doesn’t comprise any recent concerts, like the one in Lucerne I attended a year and a half ago (I know they were recording that, so I hope it will eventually be released).

In this case, we’re talking about 20 year old material. These are live recordings from four concerts in Northern Italy, as you see from the cover specifically Modena, Ferrara, Torino, and Genova, all in October 1996.

We were lucky, at the time, Jarrett hat a DAT recorder (one of the earliest portable digital recording techniques) and some microphones with him and was taping his own concerts.

In the liner notes, Jarrett explains that he’s listened to these recordings many times and claims them to be “a pinnacle in his career”. Lucky for us, we finally get to share this pleasure.

How do you describe 5 hours of improvised music?

Well to make it short, I don’t even try. Let me just summarize my impressions: These are indeed beautiful recordings. Are these to my ears the pinnacle of Jarrett’s career? I personally wouldn’t go as far. We’re still in the “old days” of Jarrett’s concerts with long 40 min uninterupted playing, very shortly before he had to take a break for health reasons. While there really is a lot to love here, my only point of criticism would be that sometimes I’d have liked a bit more stylistic variability.

So if you’re a first time Jarrett solo concert buyer, and you won’t get the cheap price on Qobuz (see last paragraph), you may want to go for some other concerts first, like the legendary Köln, or Bremen Lausanne. But if you like Keith Jarrett’s solo concerts, this one is clearly one to go for.

My rating: 4 stars.

You can find it here (Qobuz) or here (Amazon)

 

Author: Musicophile

I'm not a professional musician, I don't work in the music industry, I'm just what the name says, somebody who loves music. I've been in love with music for all of my life, took piano lessons for nearly 10 years, and played in several amateur Jazz groups. I go to concerts, both classical and Jazz, quite regularly. And I collect music previously on vinyl and CDs, now on my computer, and am slightly OCD on my music collection. You can reach me at Musicophile1(AT)gmail.com

13 thoughts on “A Multitude Of Angels – A review of the “new” Keith Jarrett solo album recorded by Jarrett himself”

  1. Thanks for writing about these recordings. They sound real good.
    I have a couple of KJ’s solo recordings from the 1970s on vinyl (Facing You. Bremen/Lausanne). Haven’t heard them in quite awhile, but I used to play them a lot. They’re terrific.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I went over to Qobuz and it recognized that I’m from the States. It’s not available here so I left my email address as instructed for the day that might occur. Anyway, thanks for the heads up. Any new Jarrett is cause for celebration even if it’s “new/old.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. While still trying to put these recordings to a more or less fixed position in a line of my personal sequence between more and less favorite Keith Jarrett albums I see there are two basic approaches one would choose from.

    First, we could listen it just as “another” set of Jarrett live solo performances from a very long trail starting with Bremen/Lausanne and going through next forty years. In this case “Multitude” is good, but not outstanding, 4 stars rating suits perfectly well here, newcomers would be welcomed to start somewhere else.

    But, there might be an alternate perspective, which one may have (or not) on a basis of reading liner notes. It says a lot for sympathetic listener and fan of Jarret’s realm. We may start to understand how fragile and vulnerable he was at that time and our understanding would help us to transcend from mere sounds to depths where no ratings exist.

    I glad I had an experience of listening it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You certainly have a point. These really seem to be very special to Keith himself. Therefore, as a Jarrett fanboy like me they are a must have.

      However, I try to make my assessments relevant to all my readers, and I wouldn’t necessarily call this a “must have”, which is my definition of 5 stars, for everybody out there.

      I truly like the album a lot though, the more I listen to it, the more it grows on me.

      Like

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