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An absolute landmark. A new improvisational language.
Top Customer Reviews
If Beethoven was the great piano improvisor of the 19th century, the title in the 20th century should arguably go to this man. With very few exceptions, one basically cannot go wrong with a Keith Jarrett recording. If you have any affection for piano music, you will love his work...whether your tastes run to jazz, classical, even rock, there's something in Jarrett's music that bridges them all.
But this is the album that really started it all for Jarrett, and as such it has some historical significance beyond its musical merits, so Jarrett's fans will definitely want to own this one. For more casual listeners, rest assured that this is not an "early works" release - this is a fully realized work by a mature artist, and it still holds up very well today. Jarrett's detractors may be advised that this album contains almost none of the high-pitched (and sometimes annoying) vocalizations with which he's been know to accompany himself, nor does he indulge in any of the obscure Gamelan-style music that mainstream jazz enthusiasts often find so opaque.
What he gives us is 8 tracks of exquisite jazz piano, starting with the masterful "In Front", a 10-minute showcase of Jarrett's delightful ear for melody melded to a bumpy, exhilarating rhythm - an instant classic. While none of the remaining tracks reach that same high energy level, Jarrett does take the opportunity to show his versatility. "Ritooria" is somber and ruminative, while "My Lady; My Child" and "Landscape for a Future Earth" reveal a more delicate and tender side. "Lalene" ebbs and flows, the more interesting segments being those that feature a more deliberate rhythm and a hint of that gospel feel that Jarrett does so well.Read more ›
But of course that purity of sound no doubt comes from the fact that this is the music of Jarrett early in his jazz career. As someone pointed out no grunting. Also no free jazz, no atonal modern classical style interwoven into epic jazz improvisational compositions of concert length.
Jarrett has produced a massive body of exquisite work over the years. But as is evidence from this album, he was already a master of jazz piano at this stage of his musical career.
Addendum: The songs on this album are compositions that are of a style and caliber to warrant being categorized as "jazz standards", but they are not the well-known songs by other jazz greats on his "standards" albums, these were all composed by Jarrett himself. Thus, this album gives a good exposure to Jarrett's skills as a composer of "mainstream jazz" pieces.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is quite simply one of the most astonishing albums of original jazz piano you will ever hear. More uniform in texture than the solo concerts, Jarrett explores a sweet new... Read morePublished 18 months ago by christopher ramsey
Jarrett's work has been multifarious. After working with the Art Blakey ensemble and Charles Lloyd, he settled into a recording career that could be divided into:
1)... Read more
oh well even k.j. makes a lesser product every now and then. if you've never heard his great stuff, you might like it.Published on June 18, 2014 by epiphyte
I have not had this album for decades. I bought it not sure if it would still hold up but I adore it. It is only piano no other musicians which I like. Read morePublished on February 26, 2014 by Susan G.
An essential for fans of Keith Jarrett. I have owned this album in various formats since its release years ago, and have never tired of it.Published on December 14, 2013 by B. Burgess
This album is in a very different field from his amazing, brilliant, and deeply inspired Koln Concert and Arbour Zena. Read morePublished on August 12, 2011 by LadyLake