Critic’s Notebook: Keith Jarrett and His Trio Will Perform at Carnegie Corridor

December 11th, 2013

Joshua Vivid for The New York Times

The jazz pianist Keith Jarrett with his trio, the bassist Gary Peacock and the drummer Jack DeJohnette, at Carnegie Hall in 2010. They play the corridor again on Wednesday.

The oddest and most revealing album unveiled this calendar year by the pianist Keith Jarrett — there have been 5 so considerably, for any individual trying to keep score — is “No End,” a generous aiding of noodly, faintly tribal rock jams recorded to cassette in a house studio in 1986. Mr. Jarrett performs each and every instrument himself, leaning on electric powered guitar and drums, and hardly touching the piano. The multitracked consequence frequently feels like a honest but airtight reaction to the Grateful Lifeless, which seemingly is not also considerably off the mark.

“I in no way took medication of any variety, but I realized we were trying to encounter truth without dogma,” Mr. Jarrett writes in the CD booklet, “and I was a participant in Haight-Ashbury in the course of the golden times of hippiedom.” He remembers getting a saxophone to Golden Gate Park for daylong classes with a hodgepodge of fellow seekers: “Some of the players had been not so great, but it didn’t actually make a difference it was the ‘intent’ that counted. Men and women walked by and listened or not. It was a rare kind of flexibility.” The songs on “No End,” he implies, flowed from that very same area.

That Mr. Jarrett was emotion nostalgic about the Age of Aquarius in the colder period of Iran-contra is unremarkable, even a generational clich?. That he set out to recreate the euphoria of a basically social experience in solitude is more telling. It’s tough to believe of a key jazz determine who has been as cloistered as Mr. Jarrett, although remaining a crucial drive. And it’s difficult to know the exact legacy of that isolationism, which can look like the pilot light-weight of a inventive furnace or the match environment a house, if not a bridge, aflame.

Mr. Jarrett, sixty eight, turned a variety of existential hero to several of his admirers with the 1975 solo album “The K?ln Live performance,” a foundational textual content for each his job and for ECM, the German label that soon became his exclusive outlet. His concert-size piano improvisations are nonetheless a resource of kaleidoscopic question, in new or classic form for a specifically fine illustration, check with “Concerts: Bregenz/M?nchen,” recorded in 1981 and ultimately released in total, as a 3-CD established, this 7 days.

At the same time, Mr. Jarrett has, for the past 30 many years, managed a trio with the bassist Gary Peacock and the drummer Jack DeJohnette. This group, which will appear at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday evening, is rightly celebrated for the top quality of its interplay, which provides a conversational sensation to the mainstream language of the jazz piano trio.

That’s conversational, as in not a soliloquy Mr. Jarrett is unmistakably the leader, but, at its best, his trio dwells in a spirit of collectivity and empathy. Listen to how the musicians work jointly through “Solar” and “I Believed About You,” the jazz standards that bookend “Somewhere,” an extraordinary album released this spring. There is in no way a minute when Mr. DeJohnette or Mr. Peacock settles for inventory pattern operate, or fails to have interaction deeply with Mr. Jarrett, who responds in sort.

Nonetheless, 30 many years is a prolonged time for any band, specifically when you think about that Mr. Jarrett, who will be honored as a Countrywide Endowment for the Arts Jazz Grasp on Jan. 13, has manufactured songs with only a number of other men and women in all people many years. Jazz musicians are inclined to get all around, as a subject of training course it would be a daunting process to compile a list of all the individuals that Mr. Jarrett’s peers Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock have labored with in excess of the very same three a long time. (Mr. Corea has demonstrated that he can cheerfully go by way of dozens of collaborators in a single thirty day period, offered a great excuse.)

Mr. Jarrett has held to a virtually unwavering regimen of solo and trio recordings, with rare exceptions, like “Six Sonatas for Violin and Piano,” yet another of this year’s releases, that includes the violinist Michelle Makarski in a pristine Bach recital and “Jasmine,” a 2010 ballads album with the bassist Charlie Haden, a confrere from the seventies. Mr. Jarrett tends to shrug off questions about his short listing of collaborators, as he did in a current interview with the pianist Ethan Iverson, in DownBeat journal.

“At this point, anything else I would do would be an event,” he advised Mr. Iverson, describing the trio’s constancy. “And what if it was terrible and lasted only a quite brief time? I’d fortunately go out of my profession realizing I had never ever produced that type of error.”

Which brings us back again to “No Conclude,” which, like “Jasmine” — and the most personal of Mr. Jarrett’s solo piano albums, “The Melody at Night time, With You” from 1999 — was recorded on his property in a bucolic corner of northwest New Jersey, within the little, stand-on your own developing he extended in the past christened Cavelight Studio. (That identify, with its suggestion of an illuminated subconscious, is not random Mr. Jarrett phone calls his publishing organization Cavelight Music.)

“No End” amounts to an hour and a fifty percent of aimless but layered hippie mysticism at times, Mr. Jarrett looks intent on embodying the memory of people not-so-good gamers in Golden Gate Park. The guitar work sometimes evokes Jerry Garcia, but it is not specifically fluent, not even harmonically. (The bass taking part in, on a Fender electric powered, is one more story Mr. Jarrett is aware his way all around a left-hand piano vamp, and he manages to translate that rubbery vitality to one more medium.) It might have been a exciting experiment to launch the album on an American indie label like Woodsist, where its shambolic homes could locate a context other than Mr. Jarrett’s intensely scrutinized solo job. As it stands, “No End” is straightforward fodder for people who would accuse Mr. Jarrett of self-importance or self-absorption it is partly committed “to my close friends and to my enemies.”

That’s a more robust word even than “haters,” but then, Mr. Jarrett is a polarizing determine, notoriously unstable and imperious with his audiences. (Cameras and coughing are his most trustworthy triggers.) The paradox in Mr. Jarrett’s occupation is that recordings produced in controlled seclusion symbolize a tiny share of his function. He usually speaks of an implicit compact with his listeners, who — in an perfect predicament, in any case — turn into associates in a innovative act that could not otherwise exist.

He has a level there, as anybody who has sat through a single of his really excellent evenings can attest. But for a person who even now idealizes the nontransactional independence of these park jam classes, it is a tiny rich to impose behavioral standards on every single crowd. The unanswerable issue is whether a much less guarded aesthetic actuality, one with much more variability and sunlight and skirmish, may have made any distinction.

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