Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Keith Jarrett at the National Concert Hall

The time has finally come. After 40 years of spectacular improvisation, Keith Jarrett is finally set to attack his piano in our own National Concert Hall. And it’s happening soon. A press release informs me that the solo concert will …

Thu, Jan 3, 2013, 21:26

   
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The time has finally come. After 40 years of spectacular improvisation, Keith Jarrett is finally set to attack his piano in our own National Concert Hall. And it’s happening soon. A press release informs me that the solo concert will take place on February 21st. I suppose the world is divided into people who couldn’t care less and people who regard this as Earth-juddering news. Regular readers of this “blog” will have become used to incessant droning about the wonder of Jarrett’s improvisations. They can be of almost any length (the tunes, not the drones). The famous Köln Concert and those in Vienna and La Scala each compromise two huge movements and a brief coda. More recent recordings in Paris, London and New York hang around shorter works.

Obviously, jazz (is it jazz?) always involves improvisation. But Jarrett’s solo works stretch that art to the limits of its tensile strength. Something quite large is formed from nothing. (Not quite nothing? The famous opening notes of Köln were allegedly inspired by the chime that summoned patrons to their seats.) Naive, sweet melodies give way to pounding avant garde playing of the most forbidding hue. At any rate, this looks like being — for a certain contingent — the musical event of 2013. And the year has only begun. See? We told you. Life could be worse. It could be much, much worse.