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Bebop Spoken There

Charles Lloyd: "I'm raring to go out to play, because I know I'll find something to explain the inexplicable." (DownBeat August 2022)

The Things They Say!

Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Rupert Burley (Dynamic Agency): "BSH just goes from strength to strength".

'606' Club: "A toast to Lance Liddle of the terrific jazz blog 'Bebop Spoken Here'"

The Strictly Smokin' Big Band included Be Bop Spoken Here (sic) in their 5 Favourite Jazz Blogs.
Ann Braithwaite (Braithwaite & Katz Communications) You’re the BEST! -- Holly Cooper, Mouthpiece Music: "Lance writes pull quotes like no one else!"

Postage

14438 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 14 years ago. 716 of them this year alone and, so far, 13 this month (August 6).

From This Moment On ...

August

Wed 10: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Wed 10: Castillo Nuevo @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30-8:30pm.
Wed 10: Darlington Big Band @ Darlington & Simpson Rolling Mills Club, Darlington. 7:00pm. Rehearsal session (open to the public).
Wed 10: 4B @ The Exchange, North Shields. 7:00pm.
Wed 10: Take it to the Bridge @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm.

Thu 11: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone, North Tyneside. 1:00pm.
Thu 11: Baghdaddies @ Cumberland Arms, Newcastle. Time TBC.
Thu 11: Indigo Jazz Voices: Little Big Band Special @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:45pm. POSTPONED!
Thu 11: Tees Hot Club @ Dorman’s Club, Middlesbrough. 9:00pm. Guests Donna Hewitt (sax) Josh Bentham (sax) Garry Hadfield (keys).

Fri 12: Ben Gilbert Trio @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall. 1:00pm.
Fri 12: Classic Swing @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Fri 12: New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band @ Oxbridge Hotel, Stockton. 1:00pm. £5.00.
Fri 12: Rendezvous Jazz @ The Monkseaton Arms, Monkseaton. 1:00pm.

Sun 14: Vieux Carré Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.
Sun 14: Tees Valley Jazzmen @ Hammer & Pincers, Preston le Skerne. 1:00pm.
Sun 14: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ West Park, South Shields. 2:00pm.
Sun 14: Foundry Jazz Ensemble @ The Exchange, North Shields. 3:00pm.
Sun 14: Anth Purdy @ Blues & Bourbon, Newcastle. 4:00pm. Free.
Sun 14: Castillo Nuevo @ Revoluçion de Cuba, Newcastle. 5:30-8:30pm.
Sun 14: Sunday Night Am Jam Special @ The Globe, Newcastle. 7:30pm. Note start time.

Mon 15: Jazz in the Afternoon @ Cullercoats Crescent Club. 1:00pm.
Mon 15: Stu Collingwood Organ Trio @ Black Bull, Blaydon. 8:00pm. Blaydon Jazz Club.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

CD Review: Keith Jarrett – Munich 2016

Keith Jarrett   (Piano)
(Review by Chris K)

Amid the slew of releases marking the ECM label's 50th birthday, a Keith Jarrett solo concert, recorded in the label's Munich home. The piano god goes back a long way with ECM, with the solo Facing You (1971) recorded in the studio, followed by multiple incarnations in trio and quartet form as well as his trademark completely improvised solo slots on piano and organ.  It was his solo Köln Concert (1975) which opened the door to jazz for a generation of new listeners and established ECM financially, as it became the all-time best-selling solo jazz album (and all-time best-selling piano album) with over 3.5 million copies.

Jarrett is a divisive figure, famously ranting at audiences for coughing during his creative moments, while often indulging himself with (distracting and ludicrous) vocal accompaniments ranging from grunting to tuneless singing.  His perceived high-handedness has inspired stories such as the jazzer who gets to heaven and hears some beautiful music. He asks St. Peter who's playing:  "Oh, that's God. He thinks he's Keith Jarrett".

Regardless of the man, his musical legacy over 50 years is remarkable and he has arguably re-defined the genre. He has audibly influenced many generations of players (anyone amongst our north-east canon care to comment?).  An excellent perspective, with detailed analysis, was published by Peter Elsdon: 'Style and the Improvised in Keith Jarrett's Solo Concerts', in Jazz Perspectives (2008). 

I first encountered him on Miles' 70s Live Evil followed by the Köln Concert, but I have later come to love the wonderful "European Quartet"  ECM recordings (especially My Song), with Garbarek, Danielsson and Christensen, and his many remarkable Standards Trio albums (with Peacock and DeJohnette).

Enough of the past, how does the latest concert compare with a long list, and more particularly, the landmark Köln Concert?   His creative process has changed from long, freeform and more or less continuous songs, into "medleys" of shorter, well defined pieces. I for one find this to be a more digestible format, and maybe easier for him to present musical ideas more coherently. In this style, the Munich Concert has two CDs of 12 improvised tracks (I-XII) averaging 6 minutes in length. The opener is the longest at some 14 minutes, but some are short and sweet - done and dusted in three or four minutes.

This is, unsurprisingly, a more mature and nuanced Jarrett. That's not to say his early work was not musically mature: his 70s albums were densely written, complex in places and of course, with massive technical accomplishment.   But the Jarrett of this century sounds more relaxed. The frantic, helter skelter, sometimes showy pyrotechnics of his 70s work has given way to deeper and more considered moods.  This is good news for those who decried the schmaltzy and excessive passages of the Köln Concert, but I can't help feeling it was that very exuberance that gave birth to the wholesome melodic and rhythmic inventions which characterised that album.

This offering does have gorgeous passages, from his characteristic tuneful ballads through to up tempo blues romps. Track III builds to a bluesy feast, with trademark smears of crunchy chords. Track IV with a rolling left hand blues is followed by limpid Debussy-like impressionism, (with hints of Rachmaninov 2?!). The melodic blues and ballads are punctuated by more dissonant constructions and harmonic block chordal work outs.

While the improvised recital is well crafted with contrasting sections, there is palpable relief when the intensity subsides to three closing standards - the normal routine for Jarrett's solo outings. Answer Me My Love and It’s a Lonesome Old Town are given gorgeous and reverent treatments, and the Somewhere Over the Rainbow encore does indeed sound divine.

Altogether, this is a worthy offering to the altar of ECM on its landmark 50th anniversary, but not a landmark in itself. I'd wholeheartedly recommend a listen for those who know the Köln Concert, but don't expect the raw exuberance of the 70s - instead find the complex and pensive mood reflective of our times.
Chris Kilsby

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