The Keith Jarrett Trio
Having Keith Jarrett in the sub-title of my blog, I obviously had to get excited.
Wow, a new recording of the legendary Keith Jarrett Trio?
Well, “new” is relative, we’re actually talking about a live recording from 1998 in New Jersey, that slept in some drawer for now about 20 years.
1998 wasn’t a bad time for Jarrett’s legendary combo, with Gary Peacock on bass and Jack De Johnette on drums. Standards in Norway, one of my favorite live albums ever, was recorded just a year later, so, musically, my expectations were high.
This was also an important moment for Jarrett himself, as he just recovered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which stopped him from playing for nearly two years in 1996-1998. In the liner notes, Jarrett calls this concert a “scary experiment”, as it was his first live appearance since the Italian solo concerts (that were also just recently released as A Multitude Of Angels, see my review here).
Keith Jarrett / Gary Peacock / Jack DeJohnette – After The Fall (ECM 2018)
And to make it clear, musically, this album is all you could ask for. The tracks on average 8-9 min longs, which is very enjoyable, as the musicians really get to develop the material and interplay.
This is a “double album” (a term that feels a bit silly in the days of downloads and streaming, but in reality it means you get a total of 1h45 of music and pay about the price of two regular albums should you decide to purchase it, so still has some form of meaning).
To mention some individual songs, Scrapple from the Apple is a very groovy bop track. Old Folks is beautiful ballad. And we get standards like Autumn Leaves with very enjoyable solos (unfortunately, like in so many concerts, Jarrett cannot stop himself from “singing” along. If any digital company could ever invent the AI-driven Keith Jarrett/Glenn Gould humming filter, i’d be extremely grateful).
So, where is the but?
Well, very similar to his recently released solo album A Multitude Of Angels, this album wasn’t professionally recorded, but was basically using Jarretts own DAT (Digital Audio Tape recorder).
And as much as I didn’t mind the shoe-box sound created by this recording set-up for Angels, for a trio where you need to better capture the nuances and interplay of three instruments, I find the sound quality a bit off-putting (and this in spite of the fact that this was remastered at the legendary Rainbow Studios in Oslo).
So, in conclusion, as a hard-core Jarrett fan, this is a must have. If you don’t mind the poor sound quality, I can recommend it as well.
However, if you don’t yet own most of his catalogue, there are many other live albums that benefit from the outstanding sound quality that ECM normally is famous for, like Standards in Norway, or Live At Blue Note from 1994 (one of my 25 Essential Jazz Albums), that you may want to check out first.
My rating: 4 stars (1 star taken off for sound quality)