Waiting for Keith: Jarrett preview

I’m off to the Festival Hall later for the ‘one night only’ appearance of the now legendary Standards Trio. Spending the week as I am with a bunch of musos at summer school there has been the inevitable chewing over of the phenomenon that is Keith Jarrett and, as jazzers do, telling of stories. My personal favourite relates to an un- named musician ringing Jack de Johnette up to discuss asking Jarrett to play on his forthcoming album. de Johnette’s response? “Well the thing is, Keith’s a bit an ass-hole”.  The stories of preposterous Jarret rants at gigs because of red lights in the audience or too much coughing are now legion (not to mention YouTube clips).  But the music! Its hard to listen to much acoustic jazz without hearing echoes of Jarrett’s style – those flowing, soaring lines, the endless melodic invention. He is a towering figure and a peerless improviser.  Another common theme amongst the ruminating musos is whether or not the trio is the most exciting setting for his playing (although hard to hear an acoustic piano trio without in some way using it as a reference point). For lost of those musing musos the two quartets form the 70 s were muscially more exciting especially the American one. So, to the Festival Hall. What we’ll get who knows. The trio has on occasions played hour long improvised vamps. Whatever, for a piano devotee, this seems like one not be missed – lets hope he plays a lot and talks little. Let the glorious music speak.

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