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MUSIC > Keith Jarrett prepares to take stage with a legendary team

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Perceived as one the most important jazz pianist alive, American composer and musician Keith Jarrett is coming to Istanbul for the first time since 1996

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Jarrett takes the stage with jazz trio, which he formed with Peacock and DeJohnette in order to record an album of jazz standards, simply titled Standards, Volume 1. Company photo

Jarrett takes the stage with jazz trio, which he formed with Peacock and DeJohnette in order to record an album of jazz standards, simply titled Standards, Volume 1. Company photo

Known for his remarkable improvisations and unique rendition of jazz standards and classical music pieces, the most important jazz pianist alive, American composer and musician Keith Jarrett is coming to Istanbul for the first time since his first performance in the city in 1996. Jarrett will perform July 18 at Haliç Congress Center at 8 p.m. in his first concert in Istanbul since the 1996 Istanbul Jazz Festival.

Jarrett will be accompanied by the same legendary crew of musicians he performed with at his 1996 concert, making the night even more special. Gary Peacock, currently one of the most important musicians of the jazz world, will accompany the pianist on acoustic bass. Jack DeJohnette on drums rounds out the jazz trio, which will perform jazz standards as well as pieces of their own composition.

In the past 25 years the trio has been nominated for many international awards, including five American Grammy nominations. The trio was voted “Best Acoustic Jazz Group” in the Downbeat Reader’s Polls (1998. 1999, 2011), and Downbeat Critic’s Poll (2008) and the Jazz Times Reader’s Poll (2009).

Solo piano and Jarrett

Jarrett is famous for his solo piano concerts and his first album Facing You was a solo piano concert recorded in a studio 1971. He has continued to record studio solo piano albums intermittently throughout his career, including Staircase in 1976, The Moth and the Flame in 1981 and The Melody at Night With You in 1999. Jarrett’s studio albums were modestly successful entries in the musician’s catalog of achievements, but in 1973 Jarrett also began to play totally improvised solo concerts. It was the popularity of these concert recordings that made him one of the best-selling jazz artists in history.

Albums released from these concerts include; the 1973 album Solo Concerts: Bremen/Lausanne, which Time Magazine awarded its ‘Jazz Album of the Year’ award to. The Köln Concert, recorded in 1975, which became the best selling piano recording in history and Sun Bear Concerts, recorded in 1976.
Another of Jarrett’s solo concerts, Dark Intervals was recorded in Tokyo in 1987 and didn’t have the musician’s signature free-form improvisation feel to it because of the brevity of the pieces performed.

The recording sounds more like a set of short compositions, but the pieces were nonetheless entirely improvised by Jarrett on the spot.

After a hiatus, Jarrett returned to the extended solo improvised concert format with the album Paris Concert in 1990, followed by Vienna Concert in 1991 and La Scala in 1995 before his career was interrupted by chronic fatigue syndrome. These later concerts tended to be more influenced by classical music the earlier ones, reflecting his interest in composers such as Bach and Shostakovich rather than popular genres such as blues and gospel. The Vienna Concert in particular has been widely hailed as a masterpiece of improvisation, with its huge, arch-like opening movement, with a stunningly dissonant, virtuosic middle section, framed by more lyrical sections. Jarrett himself, in the liner notes to the album, named it his greatest achievement and the fulfillment of everything he was aiming to accomplish.

In 1983, at the suggestion of ECM head Manfred Eicher, Jarrett formed a jazz trio with Peacock and DeJohnette in order to record an album of jazz standards, simply titled Standards, Volume 1. Two more albums, Standards, Volume 2 and Changes, which were both recorded at the same session, followed soon after. The success of these albums and the group’s ensuing tour led to the trio, which named themselves the Standards Trio, to become one of the best working groups in jazz. The trio has endured over the years, continuing to record and tour for more than 25 years. The trio produced recordings that consist largely of complex original material, most notably their 1987 album Changeless.

Several of the Standards albums contain an original track or two, some of which are attributed to Jarrett but most are group improvisations. The trio’s 2001 live recordings, Inside Out and Always Let Me Go, marked a renewed interest by the trio in wholly improvised free jazz. By this point in their career the musical communication between the three men had become nothing short of telepathic, and their group improvisations frequently take on a complexity that sounds almost composed. The Standards Trio undertakes frequent world tours and is one of the few truly successful jazz groups to play both straight-ahead and free jazz.

July/17/2012

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