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Bill Charlap & Gary Hobbs at the Earshot Jazz Festival

Jarrett onstage in Japan in October 2002. By this time, his solo improvisations had developed into more concise melodic inventions. (photo by Junichi Hirayama/ECM Records)
Jarrett onstage in Japan in October 2002. By this time, his solo improvisations had developed into more concise melodic inventions. (photo by Junichi Hirayama/ECM Records)

It was a five-encore kind of night.

Pianist Keith Jarrett emerged from the wings to uproarious applause and launched into fast and free dissonance, like stream-of-consciousness Prokofiev. The first of two fairly succinct sets had begun. The only script Jarrett followed was the one evident on Radiance, his latest ECM double-disc: short, self-contained improvisations rather than album-side-length affairs. If anything, the short-length format afforded a spectacle of relentless creativity even more impressive than the epics of yore. The latter seemed to involve pure Olympian endurance, whereas these manageable gems revealed an innate and unerring sense of craft.

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