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Last Night -- Keith Jarrett, Peacock, Dejohnette


Jazzwee

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Keith Jarrett, Peacock, Dejohnette

 

My favorite records have been the Keith Jarrett Trio ECM records and last night I got a special treat watching a live recreation of those old Standards records in Los Angeles. This is my first KJ concert and I have rarely even seen him have a trio format. Usually, it's been solo piano. So it was like a dream come true to actually watch it live.

 

EDIT - Updated Set List

 

First Set:

On Green Dolphin Street

Things Ain't What They Used To Be

You Don't Know What Love Is

Answer Me My Love

Unknown Original

 

Second Set:

Bye Bye Blackbird

My Funny Valentine

Autumn Leaves

When I Fall In Love

 

First Encore:

God Bless The Child

 

Second Encore:

I Thought About You

 

Just some general thoughts:

 

My first impression -- man, they have gotten old. Peacock looked old before but he really looks like he should be in a retirement home. KJ was really thin. From my memories of old videos of him, it was a contrast to see him with white hair cropped extremely short. No trace of any curls there. I realize now that the videos of the '80's, '90's, are 20-30 years ago. Huge difference in time.

 

But their playing... Man -- KJ's playing is incredibly consistent. It sounds just like listening to his ECM records with just a different improvisation. Since I've heard the same tunes on the recording, it seems to me that the general shape of the solos are consistent. He builds them up a particular way and doesn't use 16ths till the last chorus. So this is not a random choice.

 

Hearing his moaning on records is one thing, but here, live, you realize the moaning is not connected to singing a solo, neither tonally nor rhythmically. I guess he just lets go and that's what comes out. BTW, he's seated with his back to the audience and I could watch his fingers through binoculars. I was maybe 19 rows away in orchestra.

 

What really struck, me in spite of listening to the records was the volume of the piano. When we hear the recordings, the piano is amplified. But in this live setting, his touch is really lighter than I thought and he never seems to go above MF. The notes are EXTREMELY rounded and I get an incorrect impression on recordings because I turn the volume up. So no wonder the tone is what it is. In this particular venue, the sound doesn't carry as well as others so it was very intimate.

 

His rhythmic precision is incredible. Again, this may be obvious in recordings, but you have a special focus and attention when seeing it live and every instant was PERFECTION.

 

Watching him play, I really sense that he understands what a melody is and it's not as vague as we all seem to feel. He shapes his notes with some predictability, like he knows, he's raised enough tension by staying in place and releases it by some large jumps. This stuck in my mind more because of the consistency in the shapes this live venue compared to the recordings.

 

Autumn Leaves, one I partially transcribed some time back, again followed a particular shape. The notes of the solo where different but it seemed like he had some idea about how to attack the buildup and where he would focus on at each stage.

 

His phrasing is so rhythmically precise. When I came home and played piano, some of his phrasing seemed to carry over and I was acutely aware of his positioning against a beat. Very precise though varying. Swing eighth pickup -- dragged -- not dragged -- offbeat -- downbeats.

 

Long ago, I couldn't really tell what he did when he played fast 16th lines. I thought he was just doing a run. With better ears now, I can actually tell that he's doing an actual phrase but switching phrases without a break that it all sounds connected. I think this can be practiced if you know what note you're going to end on on each phrase.

 

This guy is truly the master of melody making. The ease which he does it is incredible. Like I said, there's some shape in his head already (or multiple plays of the same tune wouldn't sound similar).

 

The crowd was SCREAMING at the end and after 2 bows and a long wait, they did an encore.

 

But the screaming continued and KJ did a SECOND Encore. Clearly the trio liked the audience reaction.

 

BTW - Lots of coughing during the performance and very obvious during ballads. I didn't sense that he reacted to them. Perhaps it's different for him in a trio setting because the form and what he's doing is more known.

 

As the performance drew to a close, it made me think...

man...this must be the greatest jazz trio of all time.

 

With the age of some of the members, there may not be that many more opportunities to watch them. By the time I discovered this performance, is was practically sold out. He scheduled only 4 trio performances in the US. Still coming up are Berkeley, CA and Seattle, WA next week. Then that's it.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Seems like he reacts differently in a trio setting. Lots of people where coughing and I was just waiting for the blow-up that didn't come.

 

I had tickets to his solo concert in L.A. and I accidentally missed it (forgot the date). And that had an incident with him complaining about coughing. What a negative!

 

But nothing to take away from a fantastic experience this time. Besides, it's the trio that really shines. I've never been too fond of the solos.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Nice review JW, you should get a gig at the Times, much better then those yahoo 30 somethings they've got writing Jazz reviews these days. Those kids don't know s..t !

 

Yeah I've seen them at Royce Hall twice now. He won't play at Disney Hall anymore, he hates the acoustics.

 

The first time I saw them in the early 2000's I had front row seats directly in front of Jack stage right. You're right , the nuances that he coaxes out of the piano are on a different level then any Jazz pianist playing today and maybe ever. His touch and control are more comparable to Classical pianists like Perahia or Rubinstein then any Jazz pianist.

 

I had a chance to go last night but turned it down so I could go to my track workout. :crazy: Sounds crazy I know but I know his playing so intimately, at this point in time I don't feel like I "need" to hear him again.

 

He's my all time favorite not only for his playing, but what Keith and the trio stand for--a totally uncompromising, undiluted, cutting edge, lyrical but still swinging approach to modern Acoustic Jazz.

 

They all are getting up there, who knows how much longer he wants to keep it going.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

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Your review perfectly describes some inchoate perceptions I had after repeated listenings to a duo album he did with Charlie Haden just a few years back. There is something perfectly crystallized and intentional about his playing right now--there seems to be no impulse to be daring, just a real deliberate and purposeful line thing going on. Not very technical descriptions, I know...
Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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I can't think of the KJ trio without remembering taking a date to see them at the Eastman Theater '87 or '88. Great concert, awful date. I loved them, she didn't. Left the concert to find my car, and all the others parked illegally in the alley behind ET, had been towed.

 

Never saw the girl again.

 

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Dave, your comment about the acoustics prompted me to seek out this review from the L.A. Times.

 

I was at that Disney Hall concert. And I didn't have a problem with the acoustics.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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I've noticed that the music he plays during his solo concerts in recent years can be divided into three different categories: free, ballad, and what I call Gospel-pop. Its improv, but its also predictable. Stylistically, I dont get the sense that hes challenging himself, and Im curious as to whether, at his age, hes playing more for the audience now and less interested in indulging himself and/or exploring new musical avenues. I'd like to hear him play something that doesn't fit into one of those three categories.
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Nice review JW, you should get a gig at the Times, much better then those yahoo 30 somethings they've got writing Jazz reviews these days. Those kids don't know s..t !

 

Yeah I've seen them at Royce Hall twice now. He won't play at Disney Hall anymore, he hates the acoustics.

 

The first time I saw them in the early 2000's I had front row seats directly in front of Jack stage right. You're right , the nuances that he coaxes out of the piano are on a different level then any Jazz pianist playing today and maybe ever. His touch and control are more comparable to Classical pianists like Perahia or Rubinstein then any Jazz pianist.

 

I had a chance to go last night but turned it down so I could go to my track workout. :crazy: Sounds crazy I know but I know his playing so intimately, at this point in time I don't feel like I "need" to hear him again.

 

He's my all time favorite not only for his playing, but what Keith and the trio stand for--a totally uncompromising, undiluted, cutting edge, lyrical but still swinging approach to modern Acoustic Jazz.

 

They all are getting up there, who knows how much longer he wants to keep it going.

 

LOL - well long ago, I used to like seeing what I wrote on a shelf at Barnes and Noble....

 

I can't believe you would give it up for running. You can run any day!

 

What's really incredible about the KJ Trio is just how perfect everything is. You could have recorded this and it would have been as good as any ECM record. The consistency is amazing. I'm really glad they played the regular standards so there's something to compare against.

 

My teacher may have set me wrong on this, but I was under the impression (based on what he told me) that to get KJ's tone, you'd have to play at a certain level. So I was shocked that live it was a lighter touch than I imagined. It caused me to be more aware of dynamics in when soloing. (which is hard enough when you've other things to think about).

 

Usually when I'm soloing, I figure I'm just trying to get heard so I'm not thinking about shaping the dynamics of a phrase. Reminds me of Monk slamming with an F-FF on each note. LOL (though I'm not that bad). But it certainly made me rethink my approach to the piano.

 

BTW - in comparison, Herbie and Mehldau hit the piano more aggressively (since I've seen both live).

 

 

 

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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I was at that Disney Hall concert. And I didn't have a problem with the acoustics.

I've never set foot in the Hall but I don't doubt that some venues sound excellent for orchestral music but lousy for jazz. Avery Fisher here is that way. I saw Ornette, Charlie and Billy in '97: fantastic show, less than ideal acoustics.

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Dave, your comment about the acoustics prompted me to seek out this review from the L.A. Times.

 

I was at that Disney Hall concert. And I didn't have a problem with the acoustics.

 

I watched Mehldau and Herbie/Shorter at Disney Hall and I thought the acoustics were incredible. At Royce Hall, you can hear that you're missing some of the range. May depend on seating position too. Disney Hall -- anywhere you sit, it's perfect.

 

I think KJ probably complains because he can hear everyone's coughing :)

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Your review perfectly describes some inchoate perceptions I had after repeated listenings to a duo album he did with Charlie Haden just a few years back. There is something perfectly crystallized and intentional about his playing right now--there seems to be no impulse to be daring, just a real deliberate and purposeful line thing going on. Not very technical descriptions, I know...

 

Nice to get confirmation! Well if I heard them the first time, I wouldn't know this. But with records to compare against, it is very clear.

 

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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I can't think of the KJ trio without remembering taking a date to see them at the Eastman Theater '87 or '88. Great concert, awful date. I loved them, she didn't. Left the concert to find my car, and all the others parked illegally in the alley behind ET, had been towed.

 

Never saw the girl again.

 

LOL. We know what your priorities are. :)

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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I've noticed that the music he plays during his solo concerts in recent years can be divided into three different categories: free, ballad, and what I call Gospel-pop. Its improv, but its also predictable. Stylistically, I dont get the sense that hes challenging himself, and Im curious as to whether, at his age, hes playing more for the audience now and less interested in indulging himself and/or exploring new musical avenues. I'd like to hear him play something that doesn't fit into one of those three categories.

 

In theory at least, he stretches himself in what you categorize as "free". But frankly, it doesn't sound like jazz to me and I don't get that interested. Neither do I like his "pop" sounding stuff.

 

But I really, really enjoy his trios. Clearly he can do this (trios) in his sleep. I'm guessing that's where his biggest fans here.

 

I bought solo tickets that I didn't get to watch. Except for the waste of money, I don't feel like I missed anything.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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In theory at least, he stretches himself in what you categorize as "free".

True. While it's impressive, it can be a blur of notes, and there's frequently little to savor as he quickly discards ideas. Conversely, he often doesn't stretch out enough in the pop stuff. Perhaps it's because he's playing shorter pieces now that aren't akin to what he did during the Koln concert. I think it's really his own personal taste that prevents him from playing something un-Keith.

 

I bought solo tickets that I didn't get to watch. Except for the waste of money, I don't feel like I missed anything.

I don't think I would see him solo again. I would, however, see the trio again, because it's as much about Gary and Jack as it is about Keith. In fact, I think I might enjoy Jack more in the trio than Keith. The way he colors songs is unmatched.

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Truth is, because of the musician in me, I tend to go these concerts more as a jazz lesson than anything. Particularly a trio. So I'm always analyzing, and looking for something new to understand and apply to my own playing. I've found that seeing these masters in person gives me a different viewpoint than just watching a video or listening to a record.

 

This is the reason I don't care to see his other formats because it doesn't concern me "musically".

 

For that same reason, I may not necessarily see someone multiple times unless there's something new.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Jazzwee,

 

Do you mind me saying that I'm very impressed with your growth of jazz playing knowledge since you were last frequently here? Reading your drummers thread and this one it's clear you've learned quite a bit in that time. I know you did those jazz threads over in PW, but by the time I saw them they were monstrous and too much for me to catch up.

 

Keep it up!

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Joe -- I didn't know you kept up. I appreciate the nice comments! I was jamming with my teacher today and the big smile on his face was reassurance that we were making good music.

 

BTW - no need to go back to the beginning on those threads (I wouldn't have the patience myself). We tend to just agree to play something and then everyone just starts posting their versions. Some people just pick it up from wherever the thread happens to be. I think the last thing we did was post versions of 'Solar' (in between gig recordings). Several people from here are regulars.

 

Sorry to disappear from here for awhile. I tended to be on acoustic 90% of the time and so didn't feel the need to discuss gear until I started to gig actively.

 

Still studying though. I'm sure I just learned the first 1% :)

 

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Jazzwee, glad you got to see them. Good review. I saw KJ years ago with his early quartet (Haden, Motian, Redman) and just watched videos since.

 

You're right , the nuances that he coaxes out of the piano are on a different level then any Jazz pianist playing today and maybe ever. His touch and control are more comparable to Classical pianists like Perahia or Rubinstein then any Jazz pianist.
+1. And lots of pianists are influenced by him, but none draw sounds from the piano in the same way.

 

While it's impressive, it can be a blur of notes, and there's frequently little to savor as he quickly discards ideas.

Or maybe a blur of well executed specific notes. Sorry to disagree, but I don't get that from his playing at all. He's not playing disposable ideas to be discarded. He's a perfectionist if there ever was one, and intentional about what he chooses to play, all notes/ideas used to musical purpose. Angular, fragmented very fast lines are part of his style, which won't always be to everyone's tastes.

 

The only minuscule criticism I've ever had about his playing was he sometimes stays on a particular tangent longer than I would like to hear it, but that's also part of his musical identity. And he's not always in top form, but then who is? Playing consistently at this mental and physical level is a high wire act with no net.

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I guess I just remembered some of your posts from back then like when you got your Steinway and generally starting out with some of this stuff.

 

I will look at those threads again. I've been studying some jazz stuff with my teacher, but also going back and forth doing other stuff (rock, r&b, etc.) for the gigs I've had, so I haven't progressed on the jazz side as much as I might have.

 

There's always tons to learn. I've barely scratched the surface. I try not to think about it! :)

 

BTW, You might dig these threads.

 

The Reharm Room

Live Gig Room

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Joe -- I guess I've been single minded. I've only studied Jazz (and some classical for Chops). And I've never stopped taking lessons. But I try not to be distracted. My gigs are pure jazz only (though my bass player will play Autumn Leaves or Mr PC in Funk :) ). So that kind of helps progress quickly.

 

Lately, I've been heavy on jazz jam sessions and moved from the meek-don't-know-what's-going-on-type to being confident and taking the lead. I think that put all the theory into perspective finally. And maybe made the experience more fun.

 

If I had to learn other styles -- lord, I'd never be done. Unfortunately, it means, I'll never get hired for a New Years gig :) Who wants straight-ahead jazz on New Year's eve? LOL.

 

You can post some stuff there. No one's judgmental and everyone gives really good input for improvement. In fact you can post anything. Doesn't matter what the tune is.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Jazzwee, glad you got to see them. Good review. I saw KJ years ago with his early quartet (Haden, Motian, Redman) and just watched videos since.

 

You're right , the nuances that he coaxes out of the piano are on a different level then any Jazz pianist playing today and maybe ever. His touch and control are more comparable to Classical pianists like Perahia or Rubinstein then any Jazz pianist.
+1. And lots of pianists are influenced by him, but none draw sounds from the piano in the same way.

 

I was talking to my jazz teacher today and we talked about this a little. Being a world class pianist himself, I asked him what he thought the difference was. He said that KJ puts the commitment to the sound in EVERY SINGLE NOTE. And that his fingers are incredibly strong.

 

I suppose in that context, it doesn't even matter that he's playing his trio standards in the same way as in his Standards Albums. The investment of effort in his capabilities can't even be reached by anyone else.

 

Imagine -- every note that comes up has a rounded tone. That means there's control at each and every moment. Clearly he has even moved beyond Bill Evans who so known for his technique.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Joe - I've occasionally lurked the Reharm room whenever it floats up. But "reharm" is not yet a skill and I can claim to know and so it is intimidating. If it was just "post your versions of 'x'", maybe I would have participated. :)

 

It's hard enough to play something close to the composer's intent. Trying to improve on it is beyond me...

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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Fortunately, some of the jazz theory trickles down into the other styles. I end up learning about jazz by applying what I learned to the other stuff, and vice versa. That being said, I'm not developing the jazz playing as much when I do the other stuff. But, it's all good. And, I might get more single-minded about the jazz again soon...

 

At the very least, those reharms are a blast to listen to.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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At the very least, those reharms are a blast to listen to.

 

They truly are, that's why I lurked. Such talent here. But I didn't know enough to give feedback. I just know they sounded great.

 

Of course some like Beeboss, and Dave Ferris frequently post music on the PW thread so there's a cross connection.

Hamburg Steinway O, Crumar Mojo, Nord Electro 4 HP 73, EV ZXA1

 

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