Many people know this song as “Danny Boy,” but those are just the most popular lyrics for this old Irish tune called “Londonderry Air.” And Keith Jarrett’s solo version of it is definitely one of the most beautiful ever recorded. The internal harmonies he improvises around the melody here are really stunning; especially from about the 4:00 point. Just amazing stuff.
I’ll never forget the first time I heard Keith Jarrett, in Japan. In 1973. In a tiny, smoky, crowded sushi bar/jazz club in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, drinking hot sake, transported to a new understanding of music. The realization that a human being could improvise such transcendent music was a huge inspiration, a door opening to a new universe of possibilities. That night we listened to the entire vinyl recording of Facing You and it changed my life.
The Köln Concert was released two years later in 1975, and it remains one of the pinnacles of Jarrett’s live improvised work, with moments so beautiful they’re not of this earth. This YouTube recording is the full album, in high resolution.
Our Sunday evening music is another outstanding track from the Keith Jarrett Trio’s 1996 concert at Tokyo’s Orchard Hall. It starts out as the jazz standard “Last Night When We Were Young,” and mutates into “A Caribbean Sky” in a stunning interplay.
Here’s the Keith Jarrett trio playing live in Tokyo in 1996, at their most telepathic. Starts with a beautifully musical drum solo by Jack DeJohnette.
Keith Jarrett’s encore improvisation from his 1984 solo concert in Tokyo is simply one of the most amazing feats of pianistic technique I’ve ever seen. This video focuses on his hands much of the time, so any piano players out there may want to have a box of tissues handy; you’ll be weeping after you watch.
Every few years I rediscover a monumental work of improvisation, one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever recorded: Keith Jarrett’s Solo Concerts: Bremen & Lausanne. I first heard this record in a small sushi bar in Tokyo in 1974, and it hasn’t aged; if anything, it’s more moving and profound than ever.
This four-part video playlist is the second half of the Lausanne concert, beginning with Keith going inside the piano. (The sound is slightly better if you switch the video to 480p.)
This is a 1982 live recording of a Keith Jarrett solo concert in Hamburg, Germany, in which Keith totally reinvents the jazz standard “All The Things You Are,” in a mind-blowing improvisation that takes the tune places it’s never been. The audio track isn’t great, but the performance definitely is.
At Tokyo’s Metropolitan Festival Hall in October 2002, here’s Keith Jarrett performing the classic tune “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me,” by Rube Bloom and Ted Koehler. Just gorgeous playing.
The most telepathic trio in the history of jazz, Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, and Jack DeJohnette, perform the Rodgers and Hart standard “It’s Easy to Remember (And So Hard to Forget)” with profound sensitivity and awareness.
Our Tuesday afternoon insanity break is a live recording (audio only) of a Keith Jarrett solo piano concert in Berlin, 2009, with a transcendently beautiful version of his classic composition “My Song.”
This tune is one of the most gorgeous melodies ever written, in my opinion; it originally appeared on the album by that name with his European Quartet: Jan Garbarek (sax), Palle Danielsson (bass), and Jon Christensen (drums). Keith adds an especially moving introduction to this live version.