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Various Artists: As Long as You’re Living Yours: The Music of Keith Jarrett

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Record companies are always looking for a hook, anything to make their product stand out in a crowded marketplace. This may explain the number of theme projects and tribute discs in recent years. Every now and then, one of these tributes not only contains worthwhile music, but also encourages a reassessment of the artist being celebrated. Keith Jarrett is mainly thought of as a brilliant pianist, improviser and critical provocateur. This new tribute reminds us he’s also an important composer.

Despite its weaker tracks, this CD works. Among the positives: Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes engages baritone saxophonist Jay Rodriguez in an exuberant montuno on “U Dance,” and saxophonist George Garzone flies through the changes and trades eight-bar breaks with drummer Bob Gullotti on “Innocence.” Mike Mainieri plays a shimmering overdubbed percussion duet with himself on “Starbright” and clarinetist Don Byron gets telepathic with bassist Drew Gress on “Somewhere Before.”

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