Friday, 27 October 2017
Keith Jarrett - The Köln Concert (1975)
The irony continues to this day that two lengthy improvisations (the encore [Part IIc] was a Jarrett composition, Memories Of Tomorrow) that were born out of making the best of the circumstances above have become so indelibly etched, note-for-note, in the minds of millions of listeners, me included. That could largely be said of any recorded improvisation, but the 'millions of listeners' bit is down to Köln's enduring magic.
From the smallest germ of an introduction (the melody played by the opera house bell to summon the audience for a performance, hence their just-audible recognition at the beginning), Jarrett goes on to create 25 minutes of sheer melancholy transcendence, ending in a triumphant, life-affirming finale. Suitably energised, he starts the next half hour on a rollicking bluesy note, before settling for largely calmer waters for the rest of the second improvisation, then, as mentioned, delving into his written repertoire for the crystalline gorgeousness of the finale. Jarrett might have started out this concert being not entirely pleased that the tape was running, but the world should be grateful that it was.
bonus download now added, for anyone interested:
1 hour radio show about Jarrett, from BBC Radio 3, March 2018