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The Köln Concert

November 16, 1999 | Format: MP3

Song Title
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: June 28, 1993
  • Release Date: November 16, 1999
  • Label: ECM
  • Copyright: (C) 1975 ECM Records GmbH under exclusive license to Universal Music Classics & Jazz - a division of Universal Music GmbH
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:06:05
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B000VA1W9W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 203 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,090 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Generally I resist the urge to hurl superlatives at something; but for this particular disc, only words like "transcendent" and "sublime" will do. Twenty years on, it still floors me.
The third track ("IIb") alone is a gem that is worth the price of the disc. I've listened to it a hundred times, and I continue to be astonished by the journey it takes you through: a steady progression over moody, lyrical landscapes, spiralling up to a jagged peak, urged on by Jarrett's mesmerizing left-hand work and annotated at the crest by his own gasped vocalizations, as if he, too, were amazed at the scenery. Its the climax of the whole concert --there's nowhere to go but gently retrace our steps back down to the sweet coda of "IIc". Truly a masterpiece of improvisation.
The recording that, unfortunately, launched a thousand New Age noodlers seeking to capture its mood in simplified imitation; its no wonder that Jarrett has mixed feelings about it. And yes, as a long-time fan, I wouldn't even say its his best work. But it still speaks to me across the years like few other pieces of music I have ever known, in any category. I can't imagine ever tiring of it...and those who have heard it know what I mean.
And finally: if you like Jarrett's solo piano improvisations but haven't heard 'La Scala' yet, PLEASE do yourself a favor and click on over to get it asap. More technically brilliant than 'Koln' (as you would expect given the interval between the two performances), and the encore of "Over the Rainbow" is achingly beautiful. An absolute must-have.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was one of the few who discovered Jarrett's solo work through recordings other than this one (I first heard "Concerts" and "Solo Concerts" many, many years ago and only discovered this one about two years ago), and for that reason it took a little longer for me to really understand and appreciate it...not because it lacks anything, but only because other Jarrett works held a special place in my heart.
Now, as my appreciation of all of Jarrett's masterful recordings has increased, I can appreciate this, the Cologne Concert, for what it is: A transcendant piece of music in its own right, unique from all the others. The story of its creation is remarkable: Jarrett was forced to play on an inferior piano with weak high and low a result he concentrated on the midrange, accentuating that particular instrument's potential and creating music that sounds unlike anything else he's ever done.
I initially thought it was "lighter" in texture than his other solo work (particularly the two mentioned above), now I realize that it simply speaks a different language.
I think that hard-core Jarrett fans tend to regard this album with just a bit of suspicion, precisely because it has enjoyed such continuing popularity. This, of course, is nonsense: Just because this particular album enjoys mass appeal doesn't take anything away from it, and it is not this album's fault that it has spawned a score of imitations from lesser artists.
The "bottom line" is that this album contains a special quality, a "magic" that transforms it into music for the ages. From the opening expression (listen for the barely-audible sound of a woman's laughter right after the first five notes) "the Cologne Concert" captures something mystical, and beyond explanation. If this is your first exposure to Keith Jarrett, I envy your voyage of discovery. Just don't let it stop here.
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Format: Audio CD
I've read most of the reviews about the Koln concert and basically you could sum all of them into three type of reviews: Those who loved it because it made them feel good without intellectual complications, those who feel the album is overated and shadows Keith's other superior outings, and finally those who defend intellectually the greatness of Koln from the intellectual nitpickers.

Keith's comments on this album have tempted the masses to react with intelectual prejudice to this album. It's easy to understand, because the music IS very accesible, specially the first part. I find most of the pseudo-intellectual Koln bashers hardly make a convincing argument against the obvious emotional depth of the concert. They feel intellectually ordinary if they let Koln sink too deep in them, and they would rather stand and claim 'it's not as good as everyone thinks', because it gives them the chance to sound interesting and, perhaps, closer to Keith's genius, as the man has responded quite negatively to Koln. Still, I bet that if Keith had kept his mouth shut, a lot of these pretentious reviews would dissapear. Later I will say why I feel Keith's comments on the album has been misunderstood by the intellectual bashers.

Simply put, the Koln Concert is trascendental. Of course, it doesn't have the harmonic complexity found in other Keith releases, like Vienna, La Scala and some of the Sun Concerts. This concert, however, has by far the most cohesive development in all of Keith's solo concerts. The first part of the concert, specially, is something that will never repeat itself in history. The aura that emanates from the music is impregnated with depth that can't be esteemed from theorical understanding.
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