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Jasmine

4.6 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 25, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Jasmine marks Keith Jarrett's first recorded collaboration in decades other than with his standards trio, and reunites him with the great bassist Charlie Haden, a close partner until the mid-seventies. Intimate, spontaneous and warm, this album of love songs recorded at Jarrett's home, has affinities, in its unaffected directness, with his solo collection The Melody At Night With You. These deeply felt performances should inspire any listener "to call your wife or husband or lover in late at night," as Jarrett says in his liner notes, "These are great love songs played by players who are trying, mostly, to keep the message intact." The program on Jasmine includes such classic songs as "Body and Soul", "For All We Know" , "Where Can I Go Without You", "Don't Ever Leave Me" as well as a rare Jarrett cover of a contemporary pop song, "One Day I'll Fly Away". Jarrett and Haden play the music and nothing but the music - as only they can. As Keith Jarrett says in his liner notes: "This is spontaneous music made on the spot without any preparation save our dedication throughout our lives that we won't accept a substitute... These are great love songs played by players who are trying, mostly, to keep the message intact."

From the Artist

Music is an amazing thing. It doesn't exist as a stationary object. It moves in real time and can be uplifting both to the player and the listener. The melting, trans-figurative moment, that feeling of everything being there, just for an instant, that surrender that overcomes us as players (if we're good enough) and leads us on to the next pregnant second, patient in the knowledge that there always is, waiting in the wings, the next chance to feel this fullness and celebrate it (as it is only in the nature of art to produce it this way); to this we dedicate our lives. But it is not for us alone; it is also made for you, the listener, to feel these same feelings along with us, to participate and to also be uplifted by it. Art is dying in this world, and so is listening, as the world becomes more full of toys and special effects. With this death will come the undoing of many possible feelings: beautiful, tender, deep, trusting, true, sad, full of internal meaning and color. Closeness won't have to necessarily be physical. Intimacy will be hard to find. Communication will be lost. Here is some music for you. Take it and it's yours. Charlie and I are obsessed with beauty. An ecstatic moment in music is worth the lifetime of mastery that goes into it, because it can be shared.

This recording was done in my small studio. It has very dry sound and we didn't want to have the recording sound like anything but exactly what we were hearing while we played. So it is direct and straightforward. I chose to use the American Steinway that really isn't at all in the best of shape, yet I have this strange connection with it, and it is better for a kind of informality and slight funkiness that was going to work with the music. With a choice of songs this good, it was hard not to become engaged right away. We did not rehearse per se, but went over chords when necessary. This was really a session that came as a result of doing an interview for a film about Charlie, after which we played a couple tunes. We had not played in over thirty years, but something magical happened and I then invited Charlie and his wife to the house to do some playing for a few days with no assurance that we'd have anything (including sound) that we'd want to release. Over close to three years we lived with these tapes, talked a lot about them, disputed over choices, but eventually I found Charlie to be the most remarkable and sensitive helper in getting this finally assembled. I wanted only the distilled essence of what we had, and it took some time to wean ourselves from going for hip solos or unevenly played tunes (even though they had wonderful things inside them). Some were too long; others were somehow out of character. Charlie and I listened to this many many times (mostly late at night) and became aware that there were some that just had more magic, more moments of surrender to the mood while retaining their essential integrity. This is what I was looking for; and then I had the unenviable job of finding the right order. After I thought I found it, Charlie called me and said, "How did you figure that out?" I think I said that none of the rational ideas of how to order things made sense, so I went into "not thinking" mode and came up with (dare I say it?) the only perfect order of these great versions.

I hope many of you can hear this on a good system. There are nuances abounding and the details make the music what it is. Jasmine is a night-blooming flower with a beautiful fragrance and I hope you can hear what went into this, as there is no way to do anything as touching as this by rehearsing it until it dies. This is spontaneous music made on the spot without any preparation save our dedication throughout our lives that we won't accept a substitute: it's either the real thing or it's nothing. It's either real life or it's a cartoon.

Call your wife or husband or lover in late at night and sit down and listen. These are great love songs played by players who are trying, mostly, to keep the message intact. I hope you can hear it the way we did.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 25, 2010)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM
  • ASIN: B0038QGXHW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,051 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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I will keep this short. This is sublime, mature playing by two great artists at the top of their game. Hal Galper, the jazz pianist, said that a musician spends the first part of his/her career learning how to play and hear everything, and the second part learning how to play less than what they can hear and can play. This is an example of that. The playing is gorgeous and restrained, with profound, perfect musical choices that younger musicians simply are not capable of. I am not one of those people who thinks that everything Jarrett does is great. But this is. Magnificent.
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Five ENGAGING Stars!! Playing together for the first time in 30 years, jazz legends Keith Jarrett (playing his unique "practice Steinway" piano) and Charlie Haden on his upright bass give jazz fans a spontaneous, unrehearsed jazz duo recording of great improvisational beauty and introspection, recorded in Jarrett's home recording studio. Playing mostly major and minor standards, this recording underwent an extensive song selection and order of presentation process that works beautifully. Messrs Jarrett and Haden are in superb form using musical extra-sensory perception to reach a point that is "deeper than a conversation", with a bouncing, elastic internal pulse that needs no drummer as they solo and 'comp' with intimacy and inventiveness.

The 'best of the best' on this CD include a wonderful interpretation of the rarely heard Cy Coleman gem "I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life" (12 minutes), a jumping and imaginative version of "No Moon At All", an awesome 11 minute version of "Body and Soul", and a charming "One Day I'll Fly Away" which was composed by Crusader pianist Joe Sample for singer Randy Crawford. In all, this is one great CD of ballads recorded with the trademark ECM soundscape by engineer Martin Pearson (Haden is particularly impressed with how his sound is captured: courtesy of Mr Pearson) and propelled along by two of the giants of jazz. "Jasmine"-like, indeed! Highly Recommended. Five BEAUTIFUL Stars (This review is based on an Amazon.com MP3 download of 8 tracks, 62:32 total time; and the outstanding National Public Radio interview "Charlie Haden and Keith Jarrett Channel The Standards": see second note below.)
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I became a fan of Keith Jarrett's years ago after hearing "The Melody At Night With You", which like "Jasmine" was recorded in Jarrett's home studio. "Jasmine" won me over with the first song, Jarrett and Charlie Haden's nearly ten minute version of "For All We Know". The last minute and a half of this song is simply some of the most beautiful and heart wrenching music I have ever heard. It impresses me on two levels: the interplay between Haden and Jarrett is instinctive and amazing, and the sheer beauty of Jarrett moving up octaves (until you're fooled several times into thinking the song is over when it isn't) is enough to bring tears to my eyes every time I hear it. It seems to me that most of the debate about the quality of this album centers around Jarrett's tendency to vocalize while he plays, his ego, the quality of the recording itself, and where this music stands in terms of both the musician's careers. I would agree that both Jarrett and Haden have made music that is more groundbreaking and challenging than "Jasmine" both together and seperately in their long careers, but does that make their release of an album of standards pointless, saccharine, and not worth hearing by comparison? In my opinion it does not. This is not free jazz or the "Koln Concert" album, and it wasn't meant to be! While Jarrett's vocalizations are a matter of taste, (I for one don't particularly enjoy them), they don't detract from the playing on this album in my opinion. For one thing, they are somewhat in the background on this recording due to the microphone placement; I have heard recordings where they are much more prominent and distract from Jarrett's playing. Again, they are present on a few of the songs but not every one, and I have heard worse from Jarrett on other albums.Read more ›
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By JD on June 7, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Love this CD on my first listen. Two greats interacting on a level that only years of experience can produce. Very laid back vibe. Jarrett does some of his "talking" while playing but that is not as obnoxious as other times.

Give this one a go!
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Format: Audio CD
With JASMINE (ECM Records, May 2010 release), Keith Jarrett (piano) and Charlie Haden (double bass), have achieved precisely what they were hoping to with this album of ballads from The Great American Songbook - created an album of absolute, exquisite BEAUTY. A work containing restraint, space, intimacy, and a sublime reverence for the gorgeous melodies that are stated and explored on each of the tunes on this c.d., distilling the essence of each with a tastefulness and an economy that could only come from two artists who are at this moment of their musical journeys, at the very top of their game, musically, personally, spiritually. Another reviewer calls this album "an instant classic." It is. The following is from the liner notes of the album: "Art is dying in this world, and so is listening, as the world becomes more full of toys and special effects." How true that appears to be. But then perhaps its for moments like this that certain individuals are called to a lifetime in music, who happen to be "obsessed with beauty," and choose to follow that call into the creation of an album precisely like JASMINE? I can't imagine anyone who has the good fortune to listen to the music on this c.d., not being immediately put back in touch with what matters most in this world. The tunes are: FOR ALL WE KNOW / WHERE CAN I GO WITHOUT YOU / NO MOON AT ALL / ONE DAY i'LL FLY AWAY / I'M GONNA LAUGH YOU RIGHT OUT OF MY LIFE / BODY AND SOUL / GOODBYE / DON'T EVER LEAVE ME. The only criticism I have of this album is Mr. Jarrett's habit of using his voice while he plays. I suspect he's been doing this for so long he can't help himself. At times, these sounds he makes distract from the music and I'm reminded I'm still here in the world, not in Heaven. This, also from the liner notes: "Here is some music for you. Take it and its yours." You bet. And with all kinds of gratitude. Most highly recommended.
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