Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack Dejohnette: Yesterdays

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.
Keith Jarrett

In 2009 Keith Jarrett’s Standards Trio began its second quarter-century, but this new title comes from 2001. It was recorded live at Metropolitan Festival Hall in Tokyo.

The creative consistency and scale of Jarrett’s discography with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette is unprecedented among piano trios in the history of jazz. Individual albums are like chapters, gathered into one vast narrative from points distant in time and space, differentiated by shifts in atmosphere or details of emphasis.

Yesterdays is characterized by extremes of dynamic and emotional range. Horace Silver’s “Strollin'” and two Charlie Parker lines, “Shaw ‘Nuff” and “Scrapple From the Apple,” are light-hearted, even jocular. But they are still imposing. “Shaw ‘Nuff” is taken at warp speed. Jarrett’s “Scrapple” is like no other, tilting and teetering crazily but staying upright. Then there is “You Took Advantage of Me,” a rather silly, dated ditty by Rodgers and Hart. It becomes the most ambitious undertaking here, 10 minutes of exhaustive spontaneous research. Then there are the ballads.

They are “You’ve Changed,” “Yesterdays” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” in ascending order of resonant stillness. Jarrett’s technical facility and this trio’s ability to manage complexity while swinging so hard they seem to levitate have diverted attention from the ballads for 25 years. But Jarrett displays extraordinary patience with ballads. He does not so much play “Yesterdays.” He listens as it occurs to him, in lovely isolated fragments. On “Smoke,” he appends his own introduction, one whispered, rapt, incantatory chord movement. Then he intermittently releases the famous melody, embellishing it as it spills, revealing a dignity of emotional exposure no one ever suspected was there.

In Gary Peacock, Jarrett has a rare bassist who can take up the story without breaking the spell.