Keith Jarrett: Hymns – Spheres

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Keith Jarrett
LABELS: ECM 371 6391
ALBUM TITLE: Keith Jarrett: Hymns – Spheres
WORKS: Hymns – Spheres
PERFORMER: Keith Jarrett (organ)


Given its chequered history, firstly as a double LP (1976) and then as a single (cut down four-track) CD Spheres (1985), it’s a joy to have this unusual recording restored to its original glory, not least because it’s only in that form that it makes much sense. The abovementioned CD could never do justice to the development of this music. As a double CD, however, it’s now possible to follow Keith Jarrett’s uniquely personal exploration of the instrument (a Karl Joseph Riepp Baroque organ sited in Ottobeuren Abbey in Germany) from its expositionary beginnings to the excited gymnastics that manifest themselves as this unique set progresses.

The music owes a little to the distinct and distinctive improvising traditions associated with both jazz and the pipe organ, but for the most part this extraordinary cascade of musical ideas effectively belongs in its own genre. The recorded sound is airy and ethereal, judiciously counterbalancing the music’s complexity. 


Roger Thomas