The Melody at Night, With You

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: ECM
PERFORMER: Keith Jarrett (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 547 949-2

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Recorded at his home studio in New Jersey, and dedicated to his wife Rose Anne, this solo album of standards and folk tunes is Keith Jarrett’s most intimate recording in some time.

He has, of course, visited this repertoire regularly over the years with his Standards Trio, but here he eschews much of the extrovert virtuosity characterising the trio versions of such fare as ‘Blame It on My Youth’ or ‘Don’t Ever Leave Me’ in favour of a deeply personal engagement with the material that homes in on the emotional heart of each tune.

The yearning wistfulness of ‘I Loves You Porgy’ and ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’, the unadorned plaintiveness of the folk melodies ‘My Wild Irish Rose’ and ‘Shenandoah’, the affectingly humble yet eloquent invitation of ‘Be My Love’ –all are imbued by Jarrett with a degree of controlled emotionalism rare in contemporary jazz, and only on one of Duke Ellington’s most beguiling chord sequences – ‘I Got It Bad and That ain’t Good’ – does he allow his customary lyrical, rhapsodic approach free rein.

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Packed with subtle felicities that reveal themselves only on repeated listenings, this is state-of-the-art solo piano music. Chris Parker