Thursday, October 22, 2020

No More Concerts From Keith Jarrett

 I have just read that jazz pianist Keith Jarrett will not be performing live any more, indeed has not done so for some time.  He had two strokes back in 2018, the last year he released an album, and apparently he is simply not able to use one hand.  He does not wish to perform with only one hand.

I saw him once live, in 1967 in the Memorial Union theater at UW-Madison, when he was playing in the Charles Lloyd Quartet.  He got attention then for reaching over and directly playing strings on the piano with his hands. That was before he began doing his famous live solo albums or performing with his own group. Apparently his best selling albums, which I read is one of the greatest selling jazz albums ever, is the 1975 Koln Concert, which I have always loved a lot.  He is 75 years old.

I note that my youngest daughter, Sasha, is a composer now out with 12 albums.  She has long acknowledged him as an influence on her work and admired him greatly.  In any case, this is sad news as far as I am concerned, viewing him as the finest living jazz pianist.

Barkley Rosser


Peter Dorman said...

I'm not as much a KJ fan as you are, Barkley, but this is certainly very sad news. I saw him play a few years later at UW when he was part of the Miles Davis band. He blew the audience away by playing simultaneously on a piano and a Hammond, one hand on each. (With wah-wah pedals of course.) In fact, everyone who wasn't Miles was great that night.

KJ is the source of one of my favorite economics quotes. I heard him interviewed on NPR maybe 3 decades ago. The interviewer said something like, "Keith, a lot of people say your music sounds sort of New Age. What's your opinion of New Age music?" His reply: "The problem with New Age music is that, if there weren't a market for it, it wouldn't exist." Profound about the limits of markets and extrinsic motivation.

kevin quinn said...

I was not a fan of the solo stuff, but the late quartet recordings, with the great drummer Jack Dejohnette are unbelievably good. However, a mute button on his voice would have been nice at every stage of his career!(Those ECM quartets were boringly diatonic, IMHO.) He was a seeker, though -- no doubt--and one of the greats. said...


Jack De Johnette was part of his trio, his quartet being a group from the mid-70s with other musicians. De Johnette is still alive at age 78, but sadly the bassist of that trio, Gary Peacock, died in September.

kevin quinn said...

Whoops- yes, I meant trio, not quartet! Sorry-