COMPOSERS: Keith Jarrett
ALBUM TITLE: Keith Jarrett
WORKS: A Multitude of Angels
PERFORMER: Keith Jarrett (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 2500-03
Keith Jarrett has made around 30 solo recordings for ECM since 1971, but a new release from the 71-year-old enfant terrible of modern jazz still makes people sit up. This four-CD box set is more important than most because it covers the last concerts of long form improvisation Jarrett ever played with no breaks within each set. Succumbing to chronic fatigue syndrome, he didn’t perform again in public for another two years after these 1996 dates. Jarrett himself describes the concerts as the pinnacle of his career. The pieces are epic: half hour-long movements of intense music that’s made in the moment.
It’s a kind of jazz performance that transcends jazz, with the pianist subconsciously drawing on influences as spiritually diverse as Irish and African music, Ives and Bach. Jarrett’s wordless vocalisations are frequently an annoying distraction, but it’s impossible not to be knocked out by the sheer creative firepower of the artist.