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Keith Jarrett Trio at UCLA Royce Hall, 10-26-11

The "Standards Trio" plays it straight, more or less

When Keith Jarrett and his longtime, deeply empathetic bandmates Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette returned to UCLA’s Royce Hall in October, the going was fairly “straight,” by standards set in this city in the past.

We think back to last year’s alternately profound and weirdly volatile solo concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, in which Jarrett opened up with an exceptional, and exceptionally challenging, abstract improvisation, as if channeling the spirit of Elliot Carter. After that high point, Jarrett grew distractingly cantankerous at the microphone, despite the lyrical depths of his playing (a central paradox in the world of Jarrett). Several years back, on the same Royce Hall stage, the trio’s second piece was an atonal improvisational creation, a startling and memorable moment in this room.

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