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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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KEITH JARRETT, GARY PEACOCK, JACK DeJOHNETTE

My Foolish Heart

ECM 173 7326

 

 



 
CD1

1. Four
2. My Foolish Heart
3. Oleo
4. What's New
5. The Song is You
6. Ain't Misbehavin'
CD2

1. Honeysuckle Rose
2. You Took Advantage of Me
3. Straight, No Chaser
4. Five Brothers
5. Guess I'll Hang My Tears out to Dry
6. On Green Dolphin Street
7. Only the Lonely
 
Keith Jarrett - Piano
Gary Peacock - Double bass
Jack DeJohnette - Drums

 

You can't accuse Keith Jarrett of excessive humility. His sleeve-notes for this album tell us that "The music came out...with an athletic grace and power true to jazz's roots" and "Jack, Gary and I know by now that we're all in the presence of masters". This double CD was recorded at Montreux in July 2001 and Jarrett says "This is a concert recording I was holding onto until the right moment presented itself. It shows the trio at its most buoyant, swinging, melodic and dynamic". The right moment turned out to be October 2007 (I received the album rather late) although Keith doesn't convincingly explain why he waited so long.

No matter - the album was certainly worth releasing at any time, despite the fact that the sound quality is not as perfect as one would have wished (Jarrett mentions "Heat, lighting and sound problems"). The bass and drums often sound muddy, although Jarrett's piano comes through clearly. And the trio was clearly on top form. This is Jarrett's "Standards Trio" and the programme consists of tunes from the Great American Songbook as well as compositions by the likes of Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk and Gerry Mulligan. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the inclusion of two pieces by Fats Waller - Ain't Misbehavin' and Honeysuckle Rose - which the trio plays with vigorous conviction. In the former, Jarrett imitates Waller's stride style but for the latter he lays down a muscular four-in-a-bar beat mainly with single bass notes. These are both predominantly piano features (although Gary and Jack get solos on Honeysuckle Rose, with the drums especially thrilling) but they illustrate the shortcomings in recording quality: less than crystal-clear.

Apart from the sound problems, this is a splendid set. The trio really does justify Jarrett's rodomontade. They may be playing standards but this is no conventional trawl through oft-played tunes. The trio brings its wide improvising experience to each number. For example, it was a long time before I recognised My Foolish Heart, as Jarrett's lengthy introduction is as enigmatic as one of Erroll Garner's "Guess what" beginnings. And the ten-minute Straight, No Chaser is taken down multifarious routes at varying tempos, including some free playing as well as straightforward swing.

The translucency of Keith's piano playing is set against the sturdy bass of Gary Peacock and the audacious drumming of Jack DeJohnette to create a contrasting mix of styles. It sounds as if all three players are having fun - a quality which has not been so evident in some of Jarrett's solo recitals. And there are plenty of up-tempo tracks which, allied with Jack's comparatively frequent drum solos, add to the feeling of exhilaration. I know it's a cliché but, if you only have to get one album by the Standards Trio, this is probably the one.

Tony Augarde



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