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Keith Jarrett Solo at Carnegie Hall

Keith Jarrett

“This recording studio has more people in it than any other studio I’ve been in,” said Keith Jarrett at Carnegie Hall, in his first New York solo engagement since September 2005. The pianist was feeling talkative, although the lighthearted quips came later.

First, Jarrett headed to the microphone and mentioned his dour liner notes from Changeless (1989), then wondered aloud (to paraphrase): “If art and creativity are allowed to slide off the edge, what is the point of ‘bolstering the economy’? Why would we want to bolster that?” He sounded like someone who hadn’t gotten the memo about Hope and Change. But point taken: The world is still not as it should be. “Pianos haven’t changed since the late 1800s,” he added from the bench. Then he began the first of 11 open improvisations: a cloudy out-of-tempo reverie, with eerie, dissonant chords and swarms of intersecting voices, perhaps a tone parallel to the discontent of his remarks.

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