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Sleeper [2 CD]
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Sleeper is a significant addition to the group s small discography, until now comprised of the albums Belonging (1974), My Song (recorded 1977, released 1978), Nude Ants (recorded 1979), and Personal Mountains (1979, released 1989). The pieces performed by the quartet on April 16, 1979, at Tokyo s Nakano Sun Plaza were Jarrett compositions Personal Mountains , Innocence , So Tender , Oasis , Chant of the Soil , Prism and New Dance all written for this ensemble (in later years, Prism and So Tender would be reinterpreted by the Standards trio), all delivered with enormous verve. This was a group that could play very freely, and joyously, inside the melodic and rhythmic structures set up or implied by Keith Jarrett s writing, with an extraordinary and unforced sense of flow. As Jarrett said at the time: I myself, as a so-called leader, wish very, very often to blend with the other three musicians and that situation [the Belonging band] allows that, because no one is fighting with anyone else. Everyone is just trying to make the thing transparent and clear and feeling good.
Throughout Sleeper exceptional improvisational exchanges, dynamic episodes of surging energy, and lyrical passages of wild beauty abound. The interplay between Jarrett and Garbarek is uncanny, and the Danielsson/Christensen rhythm team swings wildly and delightfully. Jan Garbarek wrote about the Belonging experience in the liner notes to his Selected Recordings collection a few years ago: It was a crucial time for me as a young and relatively inexperienced musician to work closely with someone so musically advanced as Keith, and I feel I benefited tremendously from it. His touch, his chord movements, the always present rhythm, the surprising melodic turns, the ability to make the piano sing in such a unique way, complexity and simplicity, abstraction and earthiness hand in hand... I was more or less in awe the whole time, not always wanting to join in with what was going on between Keith, Palle and Jon, I just enjoyed listening to them so much! The one thing that stands out in my memory, though, was the way we would play melodies in unison, in fact I felt very much a sense of unison with the way Keith made music as a whole, as if belonging...
The Belonging quartet came together initially for the album of the same name, and the musical compatibility of its members was instantly striking. Jarrett had been well aware of these musicians since the late 1960s, had played with Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen in Norway, and his admiration for Jan Garbarek s saxophone approach had already led him to write the string music of Luminessence for Garbarek to play over.
In the five years between the first album and the end of the story Belonging played infrequently enough for Jarrett to tell one journalist that it was less an ensemble than a special event . The pianist had other pressing demands on his time, then, including tours with a demanding American quartet in the final phase of its existence, and a burgeoning concert life as a popular solo improviser. In between, there was Belonging. Jarrett wrote music for the strengths of the individual players and for the sound they created as a unit, and. the classic My Song album was recorded in 1977 after a series of nine concerts with the ECM touring festival, Evenings of Improvised Music.
at Nakano Sun Plaza, Tokyo --ECM Records
In 1979 came the tour of Japan from which Personal Mountains and now Sleeper were drawn and, the following month, the New York concerts at the Village Vanguard that generated the Nude Ants album. And then the story was finished. As Ian Carr was to observe in his Jarrett biography, The influence of this quartet is out of all proportion to its brief life. Musicians on all instruments have been influenced and inspired by Keith Jarrett s work in general, but also by this quartet in particular. The European Quartet ceased to exist when it was at the height of its creativity. Sleeper confirms that this was indeed the case. --ECM Records
Top Customer Reviews
Jan Garbarek's sound here and there reminds me of the Charles Lloyd in the late sixties. New Dance has quite similar atmosphere with Lloyd's Sombrero Sam. Flute solo in the introduction part of Oasis make Japanese recall of KAGURA or sacred Shinto music and dance. Lloyd sometimes presents similar sounds to us. My best track is continuously played Personal Mountains and Innocence, which has various colors and shapes. It starts with yelling of Garbarek in the flood of rhythm and after nearly 15 minutes brilliant melody changes into ballad. Keith shows a gospel touch piano solo. After Keith's action to search suitable sound the group settles in Scandinavian landscape.
Suddenly, I struck by a strange idea. If I only hear piano sound of this album, isn't it just like a Keith's solo concert. I heard his solo concert twice in this May. His music in here would be materialized with only his piano sound. It's quite similar with those concerts in the quality. Was this the reason why he disbanded this group, and never played with hones after that.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Keith Jarrett's "European Quartet" always seemed to develop an almost extrasensory synergy in their playing and improvising. Read morePublished 21 months ago by David A. Benedetto
this is an awesome recording previously unreleased by one of my favorite bands. inspirational. dynamic. exciting. fresh. and traditional somehow.Published on January 20, 2014 by Cappy
This is one of the great jazz cd's ever produced. Period.. Keith, Jan, Palle and Jon take the music to new heights.Published on July 20, 2013 by Core
This is a great recording highly reccomended. It is nice that they come back with great music such as this.Published on January 30, 2013 by andy
I love Personal Mountain and this quartet, and excited to know that there is a Live in Tokyo version.
Performance and sound quality both great!