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Keith Jarrett/Jan Garbarek/Palle Danielsson/Jon Christensen: Sleeper

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Keith Jarrett has amassed such an imposing body of work, it will be fascinating to see how his legacy shakes out. It’s safe to say a large bloc of his jazz followers will rate his live solo piano recordings, with their remarkable extended improvisations, as his most important contribution. Jarrett’s Standards Trio with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette has proven to be his most popular and durable unit over 25 years. And with a lineup including Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden and Paul Motian, his so-called “American Quartet” of the ’70s is considered by many to be his greatest working band.

But what about their counterpart, the “European Quartet,” with saxophonist/flutist Jan Garbarek, drummer Jon Christensen of Norway and bassist Palle Danielsson of Sweden? Less prolific than the Americans, and less edgy and combustible, that unit was still a force to be reckoned with. Sleeper, a newly discovered recording that documents a 1979 Tokyo concert, reminds us of this foursome’s special qualities: its cohesive warmth, its effortlessly expansive reach and its ease in translating Jarrett’s highly personal language in an international setting.

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