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Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette: Tokyo ’96

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Wine images in jazz may be cliched, but the bottom line is: the better the ingredients, and the longer on the wood, the better the product. These three, working together for 15 years (and Jarrett and DeJohnette going back 30), show it all so clearly.

Much of the magic here comes through in the strength of the mutual connections between the musicians, their repertoire, and their audience. By focusing on standards, with their familiar, formal blocks of four and eight measures and balanced harmonic progressions, Jarrett and friends open wide the windows on their inventions, making it easier to hear the way they extend the musical field of view, without significant creative restraint.

Jarrett’s piano technique remains remarkable, with a subtle touch that supports liquid phrasing and a conception that reaches far out across bar lines and other conventions. His reading of Bud Powell’s “John’s Abbey” has the sound of deep respect, and perhaps a sense of parallels between their classical training and their commitment to improvisation, and the moment swung. It is interesting as well to hear concepts harkening back to his hugely successful solo concerts finding greater depth and context in the trio setting. Bassist Peacock’s contributions are beautifully balanced, filling out the trio’s time flow and mapping harmonies through his unerringly melodic approach. DeJohnette, the drummer, drives melody as well, often repeating figures to build an intoxicating groove.