This is Keith Jarrett's most accomplished collection of classical compositions yet, seated squarely in the American East Coast neo-classical tradition of Samuel Barber, David Diamond, Irving Fine, etc. Jarrett's writing for strings is masterful here; the lines move and interweave instead of being shoveled on as in some pieces of the '70s, and the compositions have shape and direction. Most of all, they share a common feeling of reflection and an unabashed willingness to let the instrumental soloists sing.
Even before his solo concerts became popular successes, Keith Jarrett was clearly getting a free hand from ECM founder Manfred Eicher, as this ambitious double album of classical compositions proves. In this compendium of eight works for all kinds of ensembles, the then-28-year old Jarrett adamantly refuses to be classified, flitting back and forth through the centuries from the baroque to contemporary dissonance, from exuberant counterpoint for brass quintet to homophonic writing for a string section.
Thanks in no small part to ECM founder Manfred Eicher's patience and indulgence, here we have another of Keith Jarrett's myriad of "special projects" – two CDs of music recorded on a clavichord. This carries Jarrett's anti-electric crusade to a real extreme, the clavichord being a keyboard from J.S. Bach's day, obsolete for over 200 years. The instrument produces a gentle pinging sound like a harpsichord crossed with a zither (the amplified Hohner Clavinet is the closest sound in our time), and Jarrett occasionally tries to stretch the instrument's limited possibilities, hammering percussively on the close-miked strings. Yet for the most part, Jarrett reins in his world-class technique in order to make unpretentiously minimal music on this ancient keyboard. Some of it sounds like folk music, some like new age contemplation, there are convincing neo-baroque musings, and a few of these untitled though numbered selections kick into a higher gear. Sometimes this music is charming; a lot of the time, it gets wearisome. But hey, they also laughed when Keith started putting out massive sets of solo piano…
With Eyes Of The Heart, musician’s musician Keith Jarrett landed one of his last American Quartet flights. This live performance, recorded just one month after The Survivors’ Suite, is a journey of a rather different stripe. Jarrett whoops with delight as he opens Part One in a delicate congregation of drums. The kalimba-like bass of Charlie Haden hops from one foot to another as Jarrett looses a soprano sax into the prevailing winds. Only later does the expected piano shine through his fingertips. Writ somehow large with modest articulations, his right hand brings gradual insistence until the melody and the moment become one, each frame sped into a single moving image. Part Two begins with more lovely pianism, this time with grittier chording and the added sheen of Paul Motian’s kit work. An insistent vamp unravels Dewey Redman’s dazzling alto, and cushions the applause that follow.
A heady double-length set from Keith Jarrett – some of his more sharper-edged work of the time, even though the session follows the free-flowing solo aproach of his other ECM recordings! The first half of the set features the extended "Invocations" suite – a work that has Jarrett working moodily on a combination of pipe organ and soprano sax – the former of which is used with plenty of dark tones and odd notes, making for a surprisingly great combination with the sax! "The Moth & The Flame" suite follows on the second disc – featuring Jarrett on more familiar piano (and a wide-bodied Steinway at that), soaring out on some warmer, more lyrical lines.
The spine on the CD cites Keith Jarrett as the recording artist, but many regard this as a Jan Garbarek album. Jarrett was the non-Scandinavian in a superb quartet that comprised Garbarek (saxophones), Pelle Danielson (bass) and Jon Christensen (drums). Garbarek and Jarrett constantly interplay, offering melancholy, romance, sadness and emotional, musical bliss on 'Spiral Dance' and 'Blossom', and manage to groove along with the out-of-character 'Long As You Know You're Living Yours'. One of the finest moments from ECM's exceptional and now sizeable catalogue, perhaps Jarrett and Garbarek need to work together sporadically in order to spark and recharge each other.
Features 2013 digital remastering. Comes with lyrics and a description. Very nice early work by Keith Jarrett – and very different than his later albums for ECM! This set is pretty loose and spiritual at times – and has Keith playing a variety of instruments, from piano, to guitar, to soprano sax, organ, and percussion – as well as singing, which he does in kind of a hip, bluesy, jazz-based style. The songs have actual lyrics, not scatting bits, and the feel here is almost folk rock inflected with jazz – which makes for a very interesting mix, and some really great songs that would appeal to those who like the left end of the folk/rock/jazz continuum of the late 60s. Includes the funky "All Right", plus "Restoration Ruin", "Have A Real Time", "Wonders", "You're Fortunate", and "Where Are You Going".
Keith Jarrett’s classical modality often comes across to me as a dark pastoral, a variegated tapestry of intensity and withdrawal. And while The Celestial Hawk may be no different in this regard, it promises some brighter discoveries upon deeper listening. Against a gentle backdrop of percussion that includes timpani, snare, and triangle, Jarrett deploys his tiny fleets of high notes in the First Movement, out of which arises a delicate harp ostinato, doubled by piano and accentuated by woodwinds and strings, as a crystalline glockenspiel slowly clouds into less translucent ores.