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Jarrett, Keith

Keith Jarrett

Pianist, composer

Played with Jazz Innovators

Returned to Classical Piano Performance

Struggled with Illness

Selected discography

Sources

In the February 1989 issue of Down Beat, Josef Woodward described the unique artistry and career of Keith Jarrett: Like an unruly, self-determined river, Keith Jarretts pursuit of musical truth has taken him in a multiplicity of directions, either coursing a wide swath or branching off into tiny tangential reivulets. Similarly, his audience has been alternately swept up by the current, carried into the sidestreams, or has been left behind on the riverbanks. Celebrated for his virtuosity and eclecticism, Jarrett has continued to experiment with the possibilities of the keyboard.

Jarrett was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1945. When his parents marriage dissolved, Jarrett and his four brothers were raised by Irma Jarrett, his mother. A child prodigy who became a professional while still in grade school, he began to play the piano as a child, and started formal composition training at 15. Jarrett spent a year at the Berklee College of Music in Boston but moved to New York to perform. Participation in Monday jam sessions at the Village Vanguard led to his first engagements. He toured with many of the most important ensembles in 1960s jazz, including Art Blakeys Jazz Messengers and experimental saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and became the acoustic pianist for the Charles Lloyd Quartet on its successful tours of Western and Eastern Europe, the centers of popularity for American jazz.

Played with Jazz Innovators

Jarretts compositions Days and Nights Waiting and Sorcery were given premieres in Europe by Lloyds Quartet. His own experimentation in these early years included one album of songs, Restoration Ruin, on which he played and overdubbed parts on the soprano saxophone, recorder, harmonica, guitar, piano, organ, electric bass, drums, bongos, tambourine, and sistra. When Lloyds group disbanded in 1969, Jarrett played with other jazz innovators, most notably Miles Davis, but he also travelled and recorded with his own trioOrnette Coleman veteran Charlie Haden on bass, and Bill Evans sideman Paul Motian on drumsadding saxophonist Dewey Redman in 1971 for their first album, Birth. The quartets second album, Expectations, was awarded the French Grand Prix du Disque for Jazz in 1971. Jarrett began his recording collaboration with German producer Manfred Eicher and Editions of Contemporary Music (ECM) Records in 1971. As of 2002. Jarrett, Eicher and ECM had produced over 50 records together.

Remaining devoted to the acoustic piano, despite the contemporary fashion for the electronic keyboard, Jarrett continued to write music for his own group. He has also composed for larger numbers and has integrated existing classical music ensembles into his works, as he did with the American Brass Quintet and the string section of the Stuttgart Philharmonic on his double album In the Light His most popular albums are the

For the Record

Born on May 8, 1945, in Allentown, PA; son of Daniel (a real estate salesman) and Irma Jarrett; married Margot while in high school; children: two sons. Education: Attended Berklee School of Music for one year.

Left musical studies to perform with numerous jazz performers, including Art Blakeley, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Miles Davis, and Charles Lloyd, early 1960s; formed his own trio with Charlie Haden (bass) and Paul Motian (drums), 1969-71; became quartet with addition of Dewey Redman (saxophone), 1971; formed additional quartet with Jan Gabarek, Jo Christensen, and Palle Danielsson, 1974; formed Standards Trio with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, 1983; diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, forced to take a two-year hiatus, 1996; returned to music scene with The Melody at Night With You, 1999; has performed with numerous orchestras and as a solo artist.

Awards: French Grand Prix du Disque for Jazz, 1971; Guggenheim Award, 1972; named Rolling Stones Jazz Artist of 1973; named Down Beats Composer and Pianist or Artist of the Year, 1974, 75, 94, 96, 97, 98; Prix du President de la Republique from the Charles Cros Academy for Recording of the Year, 1991; has also won major European and Japanese recording awards.

Addresses: Record company ECM Records, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036-4098, website: http://www.ecmrecords.com. Website Keith Jarrett Official Website: http://www.keithjarrett.net.

solo piano recordings Facing You, Solo Concerts, and The Koln Concert, which was the best-selling piano record in history as of 1995, according to the Keith Jarrett official website.

Jarretts reputation grew during the 1970s in Europe and the United States. His honors included a Guggenheim Fellowship for composition and being named Rolling Stones Jazz Artist of 1973 and Down Beats Composer and Pianist of the Year in 1975. Solo Concerts recorded in 1974was named record of the year by Down Beat, Stereo Review, Jazz Forum, Time and the New York Times. Jarrett began to split his time between his American quartet and the group of Scandinavian musiciansJan Gabarek, Jo Christensen, and Palle Danieslssonwith whom he recorded Belonging. He brought them to New York in 1979 and sold out the venerable jazz club, the Village Vanguard, for five nights.

Returned to Classical Piano Performance

A return to classical piano performance began in the early 1980s as he performed the solo parts of concerti with orchestras. His repertory included the classics of twentieth-century composition, such as Concerti by Samuel Barber, Bela Bartok (2nd and 3rd) and Igor Stravinsky (Concerto for Piano and Woodwinds), as well as commissioned works by Lou Harrison and Peggy Glanville-Hicks. He has also given piano recitals of the classical repertory, favoring Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, and Shostakovich; and has recorded Bachs Well Tempered Clavier. Crossover critic John Rockwell wrote of Jarretts first recital in the New York Times: His interpretations had much to recommend them. He has a venturesome musical mind, eager to embrace new music and new ways of playing familiar music. In addition to Barber, Bartok, and Stravinsky, his classical repetoire has also included Hindemith and his billings include performances with the San Francisco Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Beethovenhalle Orchestra Bobb, as well as with well-known classical performers and conductors.

In a 1989 Down Beat article, Jarrett analyzed the differences between playing the fully realized Bach compositions and the jazz standards. In the case of the Well Tempered Clavier, I can see so clearly the process. The logic and motion of these lines makes beautiful sense. Im just more or less following his weave. Hes woven this thing and Im reproducing it by hand. In standards, theres only a sketch, this single line with harmony. So I have to invent the rest of the rug. He described My Song, which Down Beat called his most hummable work, this way: If somebody can write My Song, then either they have [a] brainstorm and wrote this deceptively simple piece that everybody likes when they hear it, or they know what theyre doing.

In 1983, Jarrett grouped with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette to form the Standards Trio. The group has stuck over the years, playing mostly standards for both large crowds and small houses, and recording in the studio. Their work resulted in two Grammy Award nominations, eleven critically-acclaimed recordings, the Pris du President de la Republique in 1991, and birthed 1996s critically lauded Keith Jarrett at the Blue Note, a live recording of 37 songs with only three repeats on the whole album. Describing the way in which the group successfully plays together, Jarrett told John Ephland of Down Beat, We need pro, con and mediator; otherwise, everythin falls apart. When asked by Ephland if they communicated through their instrumentsand not through vocal commands or hand signalsJarrett replied, Thats right. While their communication onstage and in the recording studio makes them technically superior as a group, theres more to it. Every time we play, we might be playing the same material, but its a new planet. Jarrett told Ephland. DownBeat.com said, [the] acoustic trio remains one of the most durable and dynamic in jazz today.

Struggled with Illness

In 1996, Jarrett was struck with a severe case of chronic fatigue syndrome, a debilitating bacterial disease. He caught the airborn parasite while on a tour of Europe. He said that Playing the piano has been my entire life, according to Down Beats Dan Ouellette, but Jarrett was forced to cancel all his engagements and even seriously consider whether or not he would ever play again. And for over two years, he didnt. He was, in fact, confined to his house during those two years, unable to play the piano even inside. Still unable to give the type of athletic performance he was known for when he returned to a trimmed-down touring scene, Jarrett learned to exist under a roof of physical ability, forever knowing he could hit that roof and relapse back into chronic fatigue. In 1999, Jarrett recorded The Melody at Night with You, an album for his wife as a Christmas gift, and his return to the music world.

Jarrett is best known for his improvisational performances; a musical genre that owes much to Baroque keyboard composers such as Bach and Scarlatti and to the traditions of jazz. In an article by James Lincoln Collier in the New York Times Magazine, Jarrett described the depth of his Tabula-rasa approach to jazz improvising as I like to turn off the thought process. Id like to forget that I even have hands. Id like to sit down as if Id never played the piano before. He got this idea when he was in his teens, and he heard his brother play the piano in a way that inspired him to play freely. He told Ted Panken of Down Beat, Practicing usually gets in the way of my performing. Its like it sets up patterns or makes my ears less open. Ive often said the art of the improviser is the art of forgetting. And he claims to have had to work long and hard to put imperfectionssoulin his music. He told Ephland, If Im filled up, then all I can do when I play is throw up. But if I can get to some place and be real empty, then I can be available. Its a philosophy that has taken him far. He told Ephland, If you own anything, youre not free.

Jarretts jazzof a style and a level of talent all his ownhas made him what the Keith Jarrett official website called an improviser of unsurpassed genius and a master of jazz piano. He performs and records music solo, with other musicians, and with his Standards Trio, improvising at the top of his game and growing even more influential. He has had more than 30 years of important accomplishments, working with the imperfect instrument to create the stuff that improvisation is made of.

Selected discography

Life Between the Exit Signs, Vortex, 1967.

Restoration Ruin, Vortex, 1968.

Birth, Atlantic, 1971.

Expectations, Columbia, 1972.

Facing You, ECM, 1972.

Belonging, ECM, 1974.

Solo Concerts: Bremen & Lausanne (triple-album), EC 1974.

The Koln Concert, ECM, 1975.

In the Light, ECM, 1976.

My Song, ECM, 1977.

Sun Bear Concert, ECM, 1978.

Book of Ways: Jarrett, ECM, 1988.

J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, ECM, 1988

Personal Mountians, ECM, 1989.

Bach: French Suites, BMG, 1994.

Foundations: The Keith Jarrett Anthology, Rhino, 1994.

(With Gary Peacock and Gary Moltian) At the Deer Head Inn (live), ECM, 1994.

Bridge of Light, ECM, 1994.

Handel: Keyboard Suites, BMG, 1996.

Keith Jarrett at the Blue Note: The Complete Recordings (live), ECM, 1996.

Mozart: Piano Concertos No.s 21, 23 and 27; Symphony No. 40, ECM, 1996.

La Scala, ECM, 1997.

Tokyo 96 (live), ECM, 1998.

The Melody at Night with You, ECM, 1999.

Whisper Not (live), ECM, 2000.

Inside Out, ECM, 2001.

Sources

Books

Newsmakers 1992, Issue Cumulation, Gale Research, 1992

Periodicals

Down Beat, April 17, 1969; February 1989; February 1996; August 1996; September 1999; December 2001.

New York Times, March 26, 1985; March 30, 1987.

New York Times Magazine, January 7, 1979.

Online

DownBeat.com, http://www.downbeat.com (February 5, 2002).

Keith Jarrett, All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (February 5, 2002).

Keith Jarrett, ECM Records, http://www.ecmrecords.com (February 5, 2002).

Keith Jarrett Official Website, http://www.keithjarrett.net (February 5, 2002).

Barbara Stratyner

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Jarrett, Keith

Keith Jarrett

Pianist and composer

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

In the February 1989 down beat, Josef Woodward described the unique artistry and career of Keith Jarrett: Like an unruly, self-determined river, Keith Jarretts pursuit of musical truth has taken him in a multiplicity of directions, either coursing a wide swath or branching off into tiny tangential reivulets. Similarly, his audience has been alternately swept up by the current, carried into the sidestreams, or has been left behind on the riverbanks. Celebrated for his virtuosity and eclecticism, the pianist has continued to experiment with the possibilities of the keyboard.

Jarrett was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1945. He began to play the piano as a child, and started formal composition training at 15. Jarrett spent a year at the Berklee School of Music in Boston but moved to New York to perform. Participation in Monday jam sessions at the Village Vanguard led to his first engagements. He toured with many of the most important ensembles in 1960s jazz, including Art Blakeleys Jazz Messengers and experimental saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and became the acoustic pianist for the Charles Lloyd Quartet on its succesful tours of West-ern and Eastern Europe, the centers of popularity for American jazz.

Jarretts compositions Days and Nights Waiting (1966) and Sorcery (1967) were given premieres in Europe by Lloyds Quartet. His own experimentation in these early years included one album of songs, Restoration Ruin (Vortex, 1968), on which he played and overdubbed parts on the soprano saxophone, recorder, harmonica, guitar, piano, organ, electric bass, drums, bongos, tambourine, and sistra. When Lloyds group disbanded in 1969, Jarrett played with other jazz innovators, most notably Miles Davis, but he also travelled and recorded with his own trio (Ornette Coleman veteran Charlie Haden on bass, and Bill Evans sideman Paul Motian on drums), adding saxophonist Dewey Redman in 1971 for their first album, Birth. The quartets second album, Expectations, was awarded the French Grand Prix for Jazz (1971).

Remaining devoted to the acoustic piano, despite the contemporary fashion for the electronic keyboard, Jarrett continued to write music for his own group. He has also composed for larger numbers and has integrated existing classical music ensembles into his works, as he did with the American Brass Quintet and the string section of the Stuttgart Philharmonic on his double album In the Light (1976). His association with ECM has continued based on his collaborations with producer Manfred Eicher, and his jazz and classical compositions are released by that label. His most popular ECM albums are the solo piano recordings Facing You, Solo Concerts, and The Koln Concert.(1975).

For the Record

Born May 8, 1945, in Allentown, Pa.; son of Daniel (a real estate salesman) and Irma Jarrett; married wife, Margot, while in high school; children: two sons. Education: Attended Berklee School of Music for one year.

Left musical studies during early 1960s to perform with numerous jazz performers, including Art Blakeley, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Miles Davis, and Charles Lloyd; formed his own trio, 1969-71, with Charlie Haden (bass) and Paul Motian (drums), became quartet with addition of Dewey Redman (saxophone), 1971; formed additional quartet, 1974, with Jan Gabarek, Jo Christensen, and Palle Danielsson; has also performed with numerous orchestras and as a solo artist.

Awards: Has received numerous awards, including the French Grand Prix for jazz, 1971; named Rolling Stone magazines jazz artist of 1973; album Solo Concerts selected jazz record of the year, 1974, by down beat, JazzForum, Stereo Review, and Time; named down beat magazines composer and pianist of the year, 1975; has also won all major European and Japaneese recording awards.

Addresses: Officec/o ECM Records, 810 Seventh Ave., New York NY 10019.

Jarretts reputation grew during the 1970s in Europe and the United States. His honors included a Guggenheim Fellowship for composition and being named Rolling Stones Jazz Artist of 1973 and down beats Composer and Pianist of the Year, 1975. Solo Concerts (1974) was named record of the year by down beat, Stereo Review, Jazz Forum, Time and the New York Times. Jarrett began to split his time between his American quartet and the group of Scandinavian musicians (Jan Gabarek, Jo Christensen, and Palle Danieslsson) with whom he recorded Belonging (1974). He brought them to New York in 1979 and sold out the venerable jazz club, the Village Vanguard, for five nights.

A return to classical piano performance began in the early 1980s as he performed the solo parts of concerti with orchestras. His repertory included the classics of 20th century composition, such as Concerti by Samuel Barber, Bela Bartok (2nd and 3rd) and Igor Stravinsky (Concerto for Piano and Woodwinds), as well as commissioned works by Lou Harrison and Peggy Glanville-Hicks. He has also given piano recitals of the classical repertory, favoring Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, and Shostakovich; and has recorded Bachs Well Tempered Clavier. Crossover critic John Rockwell wrote of Jarretts first recital in the New York Times: His interpretations had much to recommend them. He has a venturesome musical mind, eager to embrace new music and new ways of playing familiar music.

In a 1989 down beat article, Jarrett analyzed the differences between playing the fully realized Bach compositions and the jazz standards: In the case of the Well Tempered Clavier, I can see so clearly the process. The logic and motion of these lines makes beautiful sense Im just more or less following his weave. Hes woven this thing and Im reproducing it by hand. In standards, theres only a sketch, this single line with harmony. So I have to invent the rest of the rug. He described My Song, which down beat called his most hummable work, this way: If somebody can write My Song, then either they have [a] brainstorm and wrote this deceptively simple piece that everybody likes when they hear it, or they know what theyre doing.

Jarrett is best known for his improvisatory performancesa musical genre that owes much to Baroque keyboard composers such as Bach and Scarlatti and to the traditions of jazz. In an article by James Lincoln Collier in the New York Times Magazine, Jarrett described the depth of his Tabula-rasa approach to jazz improvising as I like to turn off the thought process. Id like to forget that I even have hands. Id like to sit down as if Id never played the piano before. He continues to write music and cites a wind quintet and viola concerto as current projects for 1989.

Selected discography

Restoration Ruin, Vortex, 1968.

Birth, Atlantic, 1971.

Expectations, Columbia, 1972.

Belonging, ECM, 1974.

Solo Concerts (triple-album), ECM, 1974.

The Koln Concert, ECM, 1975.

In the Light, ECM, 1976.

My Song, ECM, 1977.

Facing You, ECM.

Sources

down beat, April 17, 1969; February, 1989.

New York Times, March 26, 1985; March 30, 1987.

New York Times Magazine, January 7, 1979.

Barbara Stratyner

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Jarrett, Keith

KEITH JARRETT

Born: Allentown, Pennsylvania, 8 May 1945

Genre: Jazz, Classical

Best-selling album since 1990: The Melody at Night, with You (1999)


Apianist of refined technique and outspoken attitude, Keith Jarrett has been lauded by critics and audiences alike for his virtuosic purity, demonstrated in fully improvised solo concerts, classical recitals, and programs highlighting his longstanding trio's exceptional empathy.

Jarrett was a child prodigy, learning piano from age three, presenting a public program by age seven, and, during his teens, touring for a season as the piano soloist with Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians, a dance band for businessmen. After studying on scholarship at the Berklee College of Music from 1962 to 1963, Jarrett moved to New York, where he gained attention for his short stint in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Although Jarrett objected to commercialism in jazz, he became an international star not only for his musicality but also for the intense physicality of his appearances in the youth-oriented quartet headed by the saxophonist Charles Lloyd from 1967 to 1970. Jarrett would often stand up from his piano bench while improvising, dance or stomp in rhythm, affect dramatic facial expressions, and hum along with his parts.

As a member of Miles Davis's band for nineteen months and in his own work of 1972, Jarrett experimented with electric keyboards and overdubbing; he also played soprano saxophone. However, upon establishing his quartet with bassist Charlie Haden, drummer Paul Motian, and saxophonist Dewey Redman, he turned exclusively to the acoustic piano. Jarrett's ensemble focused on his compositions, usually ruminative and impressionistic melodies set over repetitive ostinato patterns or simple chordal vampsessentially lyricism atop a backbeat. They also performed pieces by Ornette Coleman, with whom both Haden and Redman were associated; Paul Bley, with whom Motian had played; and Bill Evans, a towering figure among postwar jazz pianists.

In 1970 Jarrett met Manfred Eicher, the principal of ECM Records. He released Facing You, his first solo piano album, on Eicher's label in 1971. In 1972 Jarrett initiated spontaneously improvised concerts of thirty to forty-five minutes uninterrupted, using no preplanned music. ECM has issued more than half a dozen recordings of these solo concerts, including the ten-LP (six-CD) Sun Bear Concerts (1976), performed in five Japanese cities. He has also recorded original, classically oriented compositions involving string sections, chamber groups, and, on one occasion, a string orchestra with the saxophonist Jan Gabarek.

Jarrett disbanded his first quartet in 1976 but continued to work in similar formats with first-rate European musicians. He founded a trio with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer DeJohnette in 1983, ostensibly to interpret jazz standards. He also turned his attention to classical repertoire, recording Barber's Piano Concerto; works by Mozart, Handel, and Bach; and hymns by the mystic G. I Gurdjieff. He suffered criticism in the 1980s, accused of arrogance and pretensioncharges he invited by complaining about critics from the concert stage and chastising audiences for noises that interfered with his inspiration.

By 1990, Jarrett had regained equanimity and critical regard. He slightly slowed his recording schedule and celebrated his origins with a return to the site of his first significant jazz job, At the Deer Head Inn (1992). His neoclassical album, Bridge of Light (1993), was well received. His solo recordings, Vienna Concert (1991) and La Scala (1995), were welcomed by reviewers as a return to form, and he released a six-CD box set fully documenting six complete sets of his trio, recorded in New York's Blue Note jazz club over three consecutive nights.

In 1996 Jarrett put his career on hold because of an attack of "chronic fatigue syndrome." He remained in retirement and seclusion in his New Jersey home for three years, during which time he occasionally granted interviews in which he expressed his disagreement with the conservative vision of jazz propounded by Wynton Marsalis.

Jarrett marked his comeback with The Melody at Night, with You (1999), which features solo renditions of American classics, including "My Wild Irish Rose," "Shenandoah," and songs by Gershwin, all recorded in his living room and dedicated to his wife. His first postsyndrome performance, with Peacock and DeJohnette, inaugurated the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

His stamina restored, Jarrett continues to record jazz standards with his trio, displaying a fleet, elegant touch and sweeping two-handed technique. In 2002 he issued a two-CD set of spontaneous trio improvisations. Jarrett retains his fan base, appearing at major concert venues. In January 2003 he became the first jazz musician to receive the Royal Swedish Academy of Music's $117,000 Polar Music Award, cited for "effortlessly cross[ing] boundaries in the world of music."

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

The Cure (ECM, 1990); Vienna Concert (ECM, 1991); Bye Bye Blackbird (ECM, 1991); At the Dear Head Inn (ECM, 1992); Bridge of Light (ECM, 1993); Keith Jarrett at the Blue Note: The Complete Recordings (ECM, 1994); La Scala (ECM, 1995); Tokyo '96 (ECM, 1996); The Melody at Night, with You (ECM,1999); Whisper Not (ECM, 1999); Inside Out (ECM, 2000); Always Let Me Go (ECM, 2002).

WEBSITES:

www.eecs.umich.edu/~lnewton/music/JarrettSketch.html; www.northwestern.edu/jazz/artists/jarrett.keith/; www.ecmrecords.com/ecm/artists/bio/47.html.

howard mandel

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Jarrett, Keith

Jarrett, Keith (b Allentown, Pa., 1945). Amer. jazz pianist and composer of Scottish-Irish and Hungarian descent. Child-prodigy pianist. In early teens toured with Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians. Was offered schol. to study with N. Boulanger in Paris but went instead to NY where he formed his own jazz group and occasionally played with a Miles Davis band. His solo piano improvisations embrace classical and jazz history, rarely with direct quotations, and he has been classified with the ‘back to romanticism’ movement of Rochberg and Del Tredici. Has been soloist in pf. concs. by Lou Harrison, Hovhaness and McPhee. Comps. incl. Ritual for pf. and The Celestial Hawk, a pf. conc.

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