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Keith Jarrett: Hymns/Spheres

Keith Jarrett was only a year removed from The Köln Concert-which became the best-selling album in jazz history to that time-when in 1976 he released Hymns/Spheres, a two-LP solo album recorded on the Karl Joseph Riepp “Trinity” Baroque pipe organ at the Benedictine Abbey in Ottobeuren, Germany. This new two-CD reissue marks the first time that ECM has released the recording in its entirety on compact disc.

Delivering an album to ECM that, aside from the overarching concept of melody-filled free improvisation, bore virtually no resemblance to its bestselling predecessor was precisely the kind of maverick decision that Jarrett would become known for throughout his career. Fortunately for him, the label didn’t blink, and even if Hymns/Spheres is seen as an anomaly in Jarrett’s discography today, it’s a singularly stunning one.

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