Jazz CD Reviews

Keith Jarrett, piano/Charlie Haden, doublebass – Jasmine – ECM

These are deeply felt, intimate duos - not the sort of sometimes crowd-pleasing solo excursions of albums like the Köln Concerts or even the Jarrett trio recordings.

Published on June 5, 2010

Keith Jarrett, piano/Charlie Haden, doublebass – Jasmine – ECM

Keith Jarrett, piano/Charlie Haden, doublebass – Jasmine – ECM 2165, 1 hour *****:

This album came about some years ago when Jarrett was asked to film an interview for a documentary about Haden. Afterwards, the two top jazzmen – who hadn’t performed together for over 30 years – played thru a couple tunes.  They felt something magical happened, and Jarrett invited Haden over to his own studio to play and record some more. They found the results worthwhile, and spent almost three years listening and re-listening to the tapes that Jarrett had made, trying to decide which takes to use and how to assemble them into a final CD.  Jarrett reports in his notes that he finally went into “not thinking” mode and came up with the present eight tracks and their order.

In his wonderfully honest and heartfelt notes, Jarrett alerts listeners to the fact that his small studio has a very dry sound – not like the usual artificially-enhanced studio production. In addition, his old Steinway is described as not in the best of shape.  Yet he felt it all worked with a sort of informality and funkiness that was just right for the music, and I must agree.  As long as the piano is not out of tune (and it isn’t) my ears are happy.  The sonics are excellent; Jarrett is an audiophile, and in fact in his notes states: “I hope many of you can hear this on a good system. There are nuances abounding and the details make the music what it is.” Right you are; I only wish ECM offered some of their most important recordings – such as this one – in SACD format.

These are deeply felt, intimate duos – not the sort of sometimes crowd-pleasing solo excursions of albums like the Köln Concerts or even the Jarrett trio recordings. Keith feels very at home with his own old Steinway and in his own studio, and was nothing going on to distract either musician from their close musical communication. The obscure Cy Coleman tune I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life is the longest track at 11:24; it begins with a :45 intro by Keith that sounds exactly like it was written by Coleman as part of the tune. He makes the tune into a quiet, lyrical rhapsody that spins out very naturally, not sounding like a series of increasingly-complex variations on the tune. Haden takes a lengthy, melodic and introspective solo in the middle. This is just an example; none of the tracks really tear into the tunes – this is a relaxed and cordial exchange between two masters who don’t need to impress one another.

TrackList: For All We Know, Where Can I Go Without You, No Moon at All, One Day I’ll Fly Away, Intro & I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life, Body and Soul, Goodbye, Don’t Ever Leave Me.

 - John Henry




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