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Keith Jarrett: Creation

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A live Keith Jarrett recording almost assuredly means instant transport to a given evening in a given city, where an orderly but still surprising program emerges from a player following the logic of his own inspiration. Gigs by Jarrett, now 70, tend to unpack themselves with themes and melodies emerging like musical nesting dolls. This new release, however, culls audio from mid-2014 concerts in Tokyo, Toronto, Rome and Paris to create a composite program where sequencing is its own kind of improvisational art.

The individual cuts, which are denoted simply as “Parts”-a total of nine-have a wandering, probing quality to them, a jazz-based analogue to Satie’s Gymnopédies. The classical link is telling, with a concomitant Jarrett release featuring Barber and Bartók concertos, letting one know where Jarrett’s pianistic head space is at. The cognoscenti might be surprised at how spartan much of this playing is, but with a rich dimensionality, such that notes sound as though they’re coming from out of the shadows of others, advancing through the speakers with a depth of field more associated with visual arts.

“Part I,” from a June Toronto date, suggests change ringing, an opening, gentle flutter of bells, as if their sonorities were being tested out before we start headlong into the proceedings. By the time we hit two mid-disc Tokyo shows, more trills are in evidence, with progressions of plaintive but wistful colors advancing to the fore. Those earlier, isolated patches of sound have been hemmed together, thematically, in the assembling process, such that the entire venture appears to up and dance with itself.

Originally Published