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ECM Touchstones: Facing You

4.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 26, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

TOUCHSTONES: From ECM's 40 Year History. Specially-priced & newly-packaged! Facing You was Keith Jarrett s first-ever solo recording (1972)
An absolute landmark. A new improvisational language.

Review

Keith Jarrett's first album of piano solos and, to many listeners, his best. --New York Times
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 26, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM
  • ASIN: B001BOX2Y0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,167 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Recorded in 1971, this album has correctly been called a "blueprint" for the legendary solo concert albums that Jarrett subsequently produced. But "Facing You" certainly should be appreciated in its own right...it deservedly caused an enormous commotion in the jazz world when it was released. While it is a studio recording, it also was essentially improvised (recorded in a period of about five hours on a single day) and all of the fiery energy, seamless blending of wildly different musical genres, innovative use of the sustain pedal, and melodic genius that characterize his later work are present here...even his "singing" makes a subtle appearance. This work is highly recommended.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
In an era when most jazz bands were amping up, this improvised solo acoustic piano album was a refreshing return to the basics of jazz. Jarrett's mastery of this idiom is now taken for granted; his solo concerts are near-legendary, and his recorded output with his trio and quartets amply demonstrates his ability to blend his skills with others, most notably saxophonist Jan Garbarek, but with many other fine musicians as well.

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.
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Format: Audio CD
The one that started it all. While not an emotional tour-de-force like Vienna or Paris, Facing You's genius lies in the melodic motif; throughout the album Jarrett explores gospel-tinged melodies that are bristling energy. The album is punctuated with concise, masterfully executed movements that never lul for a moment, never bore for a beat or even repeat themselves. Easy to listen to (for almost anyone), this album features a Jarrett going light on vocalizations (there is far more singing than groaning here, and more often-than-note its thankfully in key) and playing some of the happiest, fastest (plenty of dazzling, jazzy and classical-inspired runs) and most interesting improvisation of his solo career, which was literally launched by this album. A MUST have for any jazz piano fan.
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Format: Audio CD
For those of you who find the majority of Keith Jarrett's work self-indulgent to the max, this is the cd to get. Not a wasted note--just brilliant songwriting and sustained melodic invention from beginning to end. Beyond stunning. For more indulgence-free Keith Jarrett, check out "Death and the Flower," "Gary Burton & Keith Jarrett," and Airto's "Free" (Keith Jarrett plays electric piano on one or two cuts). If you would like to read more reviews like this, check out JazzboNotes.com.
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Format: Audio CD
I've read over the years countless recommendations of the Koln Concert for Jarrett's solo piano work. But, I think Facing You is the solo piano recording to get if you want to know why Jarrett is a genius. I first got Facing You as an LP back in 1977 and it is as fresh today as it was then. Really a timeless piece of recording.
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By A Customer on October 12, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This (along with Staircase) is probably Keith Jarrett's greatest solo piano effort. The album literally overflows with feeling and passion. Listen to the amazing heights Jarrett reaches on "Starbright" and the sensitive lyricism on "My Lady; My Child." His playing is beautiful and frightening at the same time.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After listening to the work Jarrett recorded over decades subsequent to this album, this music comes across to me as sort of a distillation of "pure Jarrett jazz".

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.
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