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Pianist, composer, and bandleader Keith Jarrett is one of the most prolific, innovative, and iconoclastic musicians to emerge from the late 20th century. As a pianist (though that is by no means the only instrument he plays) he literally changed the conversation in jazz by introducing an entirely new aesthetic regarding solo improvisation in concert. Though capable of playing in a wide variety of styles, Jarrett is deeply grounded in the jazz tradition. He has recorded nearly 80 albums as a leader in jazz and classical music. And he has won the Down Beat Critics Poll as a pianist numerous times, including consecutively between 2001 and 2008.
Jarrett was born May 8, 1945 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. At the age of three he began playing piano. He undertook the study of classical music at age eight, and at 15 he studied formal composition before moving to Boston to study briefly at the Berklee College of Music. Still in his teens, Jarrett intended to further his academic work in Paris before deciding to move to New York in 1964 and become a jazz musician.
He entered the city's vibrant scene by sitting in with veteran and aspiring players at clubs, including the Village Vanguard. His first touring gig was with Art Blakey's New Jazz Messengers, where he remained until 1966. The lone recording with that band -- which also featured trumpeter Chuck Mangione -- was Buttercorn Lady, recorded live at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach. Jarrett joined Charles Lloyd's famed quartet in 1966. That band, which reflected the variety of changes taking place in jazz and popular music in general, achieved global success as both a recording and touring entity.
He left the group in 1968 and issued his first solo recording, Restoration Ruin, on the Vortex label. He played everything on the album including soprano saxophone, harmonica, drums, and guitar in addition to piano; he even sang. The album is mainly considered a curiosity in his catalog because it wasn't a jazz album, but a folk-rock recording. Regardless of how Jarrett regards it today, it stands as a brave undertaking from a young musician and paints an interesting view of his early thoughts in lieu of what he would accomplish later. Appearing the same year, he recorded Life Between the Exit Signs for Atlantic, where he led a trio whose rhythm section consisted of bassist Charlie Haden and Paul Motian. This group -- later a quartet with the addition of saxophonist Dewey Redman -- would record together for 11 years and attain the status of jazz legend for their dynamic, groundbreaking interplay and improvisation.
Jarrett played organ and electric piano with Miles Davis between 1970 and 1971, which resulted in Live at the Fillmore and Live/Evil. His work with Davis would also surface on the trumpeter's 1974 album, Get Up with It, and was beautifully documented on the box set Miles Davis: The Cellar Door Session 1970, which was issued in 2005. Jarrett also appeared on other artists' albums during the period, including Airto's Free, psychedelic pop duo Barbara & Ernie's Prelude To..., and soul singer Donal Leace's self-titled offering from 1972. Jarrett and Gary Burton issued their self-titled recording on Atlantic in 1971, the same year his trio released The Mourning of a Star.
The pianist briefly signed to Columbia, releasing one enduring album for the label, Expectations, in 1972 -- an album that featured his trio with guitarist Sam Brown and Airto. The year also proved fruitful for two other reasons. The first was Facing You, Jarrett's first solo piano recording for Manfred Eicher's young ECM label, an association that would become symbiotic by the end of the decade. As previously mentioned, Redman joined Jarrett's group in late 1971, and the first offering by the larger band was Birth, issued by Atlantic in 1972. The band also recorded for Impulse! during this time, issuing the highly regarded Fort Yawuh (1973), Treasure Island (1974), Death and the Flower and Backhand (1975), Mysteries (1976), ByaBlue (1977), and Bop-Be (1978). El Juicio (The Judgement) also appeared on Atlantic in 1975.
Jarrett's horizons were broadening considerably in the early '70s, and his association with ECM was deepening. While 1972 saw the release of Ruta and Daitya, a duet album with Jack DeJohnette, 1973 offered evidence of what would become iconic in the decades to come: the improvised Solo Concerts: Bremen & Lausanne. In 1975, Jarrett's double-live solo piano album The Köln Concert was released; its warmth, accessibility, and immense and enduring popularity have made it the best-selling solo piano recording in jazz history. His other solo piano works for ECM include Staircase, the ten-album Sun Bear Concerts, Moth and the Flame, Concerts, Paris Concert, Dark Intervals, Vienna Concert, La Scala, Carnegie Hall Concert, and Rio.
Jarrett began recording with a European group in the '70s, the second of his three groups that would become legendary. His European quartet included saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Palle Danielsson, and drummer Jon Christensen; their debut, Belonging, appeared in 1974. Simultaneously, Jarrett remained busy with his American quartet and with recording experimentation. In the Light, which was released in 1974, was a double album that showcased his interest in composing modern classical music. His compositions were wide-ranging; among them were a string quartet, a brass quintet, and "Crystal Moment (Piece for Four Celli and Two Trombones)." He also recorded a pair of albums co-led with Garbarek, Luminescence (1975), where the pair were aided by an orchestral string section, and the popular Arbour Zena, which included Haden on bass as well as chamber strings. In 1976, the provocative Hymns/Spheres, a double album of improvisations played on an enormous 18th century organ in the Benedictine Abbey Ottobeuren, appeared on ECM.
The pianist's European quartet issued My Song in 1978, an album that brought more conservative jazz fans back to Jarrett's table, especially as it was surrounded by the releases of Bop-Be and The Survivor's Suite, the first of two releases by his American quartet to appear on ECM. That band's final album together, the live double album Eyes of the Heart, was released in 1979.
Jarrett kicked off the '80s with Celestial Hawk: For Orchestra, Percussion and Piano, recorded at Carnegie Hall. This work wed his instinctual improvisational discipline on the piano to his formal compositional abilities in both vanguard classical music and jazz. That year, his European quartet also released the live Nude Ants -- recorded at the Village Vanguard -- and Sacred Hymns, a solo piano album of compositions by metaphysical philosopher/musician Georges Ivanovitch Gurdjieff.
In 1983, Jarrett began working in a trio with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette. It was the beginning of an association that has lasted ever since. Their initial session produced three albums: Standards, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and Changes (the last a set of free improvisations). Throughout the decade they alternated between recording standards and freely improvised sets, among them 1986's Standards Live and 1989's Changeless.
Jarrett also cut two deeply personal albums in the '80s. In 1986, Spirits, a double album, featured him playing piano, flute, recorder, soprano saxophone, guitar, and percussion. Another double, Book of Ways from 1987, was completely performed on the clavichord.
In 1988, Jarrett began recording canonical classical music. His first release was Bach's Das Wohltemperierte Klavier Buch I, followed by his Goldberg Variations the following year. But he hadn't abandoned jazz. Jarrett closed the decade with records by his European quartet in Personal Mountains, and by his American trio with Changeless, in 1989.
While his first album of the '90s was the solo Paris Concert, the trio was also busy touring. They stopped briefly to record Bye Bye Blackbird in 1991 as a memorial to Miles Davis. That said, Jarrett spent most of the decade's first half recording classical music. These albums included collections of Handel and Bach sonatas -- both with Michala Petri playing recorder: his award-winning Shostakovich: 24 Preludes and Fugues Op. 87 in 1992, Bach's French Suites in 1993, and the composer's Bach: 3 Sonaten für Viola da Gamba und Cembalo with violist Kim Kashkashian in 1994. He also recorded W.A. Mozart Piano Concertos K. 467, 488, 595 Masonic Funeral Music K. 477 & Symphony in G Minor K. 550 with conductor Dennis Russell Davies and the Stuttgart Symphony, which remained unreleased until 2004.
At the Deer Head Inn with Peacock and DeJohnette also appeared in 1994. A six-CD box set entitled Keith Jarrett at the Blue Note: The Complete Recordings, was released in 1995, documenting a three-night stand by the trio in June of 1994.
While on tour with the trio in Europe during 1996, Jarrett became ill with what was diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome. He battled the disease -- caused by an infection from parasitic bacteria -- for three years. While he recovered, ECM issued the 1995 solo concert La Scala in 1997, as well the trio document Tokyo '96 in 1998. During his illness in 1997, Jarrett gathered his strength and recorded the intimate Melody at Night, With You, in his home studio. It is a solo piano offering of short, straightforward interpretations of standards, ballads, folk songs, and a lone original; it is the most intimate recording in his oeuvre, and unlike anything else in his catalog. The album was released in 1999, the year he had recovered enough to begin touring again with his trio. Jarrett's first release of the 21st century, in fact, was Whisper Not, a collection of standards recorded on that tour.
Over the next four years, the trio toured and recorded shows. ECM issued several albums from them, including standards recordings such as Up for It and The Out of Towners, as well as Inside Out and Always Let Me Go -- the latter two shows consist of freely improvised music. In 2007, My Foolish Heart: Live at Montreux appeared, commemorating the trio's 25th anniversary. The stellar solo piano effort The Carnegie Hall Concert, wherein the pianist created new rules for himself as a live improviser, also appeared that year. In 2008, The Cure was released. It was a prime live standards gig by the trio from 1990 that had been sitting in the vault.
In 2009, the Paris/London solo concerts appeared, followed in 2010 by a duet recording between the pianist and Haden entitled Jasmine. In 2011, the aforementioned Rio was released shortly after the concert took place -- an anomaly in Jarrett's career. In 2012, ECM once more dug into its vaults and released Sleeper: Tokyo, April 16th, 1979, a previously unissued date by Jarrett's European quartet. His trio recorded at the Luzern Concert Hall in July of 2009; the concert was released as Somewhere in May of 2013. In November, ECM released No End, an archival home studio recording from 1986, on which he played all instruments, including piano, electric guitars, bass, tablas, recorder, and drums; it was followed in December with the complete reissue Concerts: Bregenz München, a three-disc set comprising two solo piano concerts from 1981. In June of 2014, more standards from the 2007 duet sessions with Haden that yielded Jasmine were released as Last Dance.
Wikipedia:For the rugby player, see Keith Jarrett (rugby).
Keith Jarrett (born May 8, 1945) is an American pianist and composer who performs both jazz and classical music.
Jarrett started his career with Art Blakey, moving on to play with Charles Lloyd and Miles Davis. Since the early 1970s he has enjoyed a great deal of success as a group leader and a solo performer in jazz, jazz fusion, and classical music. His improvisations draw from the traditions of jazz and other genres, especially Western classical music, gospel, blues, and ethnic folk music.
In 2003, Jarrett received the Polar Music Prize, the first (and to this day only) recipient not to share the prize with a co-recipient, and in 2004 he received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize.
In 2008, he was inducted into the Down Beat Hall of Fame in the magazine's 73rd Annual Readers' Poll.http://www.polarmusicprize.org/newSite/aboutprize.shtml. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
Keith Jarrett was born May 8, 1945, in Allentown, Pennsylvania to a mother of Austrian and Hungarian descent and a father of either French or Scotch-Irish descent. He grew up in suburban Allentown with significant early exposure to music. Jarrett possesses absolute pitch, and he displayed prodigious musical talents as a young child. He began piano lessons just before his third birthday, and at age five he appeared on a TV talent program hosted by the swing bandleader Paul Whiteman. Jarrett gave his first formal piano recital at the age of seven, playing works by composers including Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Saint-Saëns, and ending with two of his own compositions. Encouraged especially by his mother, Jarrett took intensive classical piano lessons with a series of teachers, including Eleanor Sokoloff of the Curtis Institute.
In his teens, as a student at Emmaus High School in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, Jarrett learned jazz and quickly became proficient in it. In his early teens, he developed a strong interest in the contemporary jazz scene; a Dave Brubeck performance was an early inspiration. At one point, he had an offer to study classical composition in Paris with the famed teacher Nadia Boulanger – an opportunity that pleased Jarrett's mother but that Jarrett, already leaning toward jazz, decided to turn down.
Following his graduation from Emmaus High School in 1963, Jarrett moved from Allentown to Boston, Massachusetts, where he attended the Berklee College of Music and played cocktail piano in local clubs. After a year he moved to New York City, where he played at the Village Vanguard.
In New York, Art Blakey hired Jarrett to play with the Jazz Messengers. During a show with that group he was noticed by Jack DeJohnette who (as he recalled years later) immediately recognized the unknown pianist's talent and unstoppable flow of ideas. DeJohnette talked to Jarrett and soon recommended him to his own band leader, Charles Lloyd. The Charles Lloyd Quartet had formed not long before and were exploring open, improvised forms while building supple grooves, and they were soon moving into terrain that was also being explored, although from another stylistic background, by some of the psychedelic rock bands of the west coast. Their 1966 album Forest Flower was one of the most successful jazz recordings of the mid-1960s and when they were invited to play the Fillmore in San Francisco, they won over the local hippie audience. The Quartet's tours across America and Europe, even to Moscow, made Jarrett a widely noticed musician in rock and jazz underground circles. It also laid the foundations of a lasting musical bond with drummer Jack DeJohnette (who also plays the piano). The two would cooperate in many contexts during their later careers.
In those years, Jarrett also began to record his own tracks as a leader of small informal groups, at first in a trio with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian. Jarrett's first album as a leader, Life Between the Exit Signs (1967), was released on the Vortex label, to be followed by Restoration Ruin (1968), which is arguably the most bizarre entry in the Jarrett catalog. Not only does Jarrett barely touch the piano in the latter album, but he plays all the other instruments on what is essentially a folk-rock album, and even sings. Another trio album with Haden and Motian, titled Somewhere Before, followed later in 1968, this one recorded live for Atlantic Records.Carr, Ian. Keith Jarrett, p. 1. "Music: Growing Into The Silence". Time. October 23, 1995. Carr, Ian. Keith Jarrett: The Man and His Music (New York: Da Capo, 1992), p. 8. Carr, Ian. Keith Jarrett, p. 7. Carr, Ian. Keith Jarrett, p. 17. Topic Galleries – mcall.com Carr, Ian, Keith Jarrett, p.32
The Charles Lloyd Quartet with Jarrett, Ron McClure and DeJohnette came to an end in 1968, after the recording of Soundtrack because of disputes over money as well as artistic differences. Jarrett was asked to join the Miles Davis group after the trumpeter heard him in a New York City club (according to another version Jarrett tells, Davis had brought his entire band to see a tour date of Jarrett's own trio in Paris; the Davis band being practically the only audience, the attention made Jarrett feel embarrassed). During his tenure with Davis, Jarrett played both Fender Contempo electronic organ and Fender Rhodes electric piano, alternating with Chick Corea; they can be heard side by side on some 1970 recordings, for instance the August 1970 Isle of Wight Festival performance preserved in the film Miles Electric: A Different Kind of Blue and now on Bitches Brew Live. After Corea left in 1970, Jarrett often played electric piano and organ simultaneously. Despite his growing dislike of amplified music and electric instruments within jazz, Jarrett continued with the group out of respect for Davis and because of his desire to work with DeJohnette. Jarrett has often cited Davis as a vital influence, both musical and personal, on his own thinking about music and improvisation.
Jarrett performs on several Davis albums: Miles Davis at Fillmore: Live at the Fillmore East, The Cellar Door Sessions (recorded December 16–19, 1970, at the Cellar Door club in Washington, DC). His keyboard playing features prominently on Live-Evil (which is largely composed of heavily edited Cellar Door recordings). The extended sessions from these recordings can be heard on The Complete Cellar Door Sessions. Jarrett also plays electric organ on Get Up With It; the song he is featured on, "Honky Tonk", is an abridged version of a track available in its entirety on The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions. In addition, part of a track called "Konda" (recorded May 21, 1970) was released during Davis's late-1970s retirement on a compilation album called Directions (1980). The track, which features an extended Fender Rhodes piano introduction by Jarrett, was released in full on 2003's The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions.Carr, Ian. Keith Jarrett, pp. 38–39. Davis, Miles. The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions. Columbia/Legacy, 2003.
From 1971 to 1976, Jarrett added saxophonist Dewey Redman to the existing trio with Haden and Motian (who would produce one more album as a threesome called The Mourning of A Star for Atlantic Records in 1971). The so-called American quartet was often supplemented by an extra percussionist, such as Danny Johnson, Guilherme Franco, or Airto Moreira, and occasionally by guitarist Sam Brown. The quartet members played various instruments, with Jarrett often being heard on soprano saxophone and percussion as well as piano; Redman on musette, a Chinese double-reed instrument; and Motian and Haden on a variety of percussion. Haden also produced a variety of unusual plucked and percussive sounds with his acoustic bass, even running it through a wah-wah pedal for one track ("Mortgage on My Soul", on the album Birth). The group recorded two albums for Atlantic Records in 1971, El Juicio (The Judgement) and Birth; another on Columbia Records called Expectations (that included rock-influenced guitar by Sam Brown, plus string and brass arrangements and for which Jarrett's contract with the label was allegedly terminated within two weeks of signing); eight albums on Impulse! Records; and two on ECM.
Byablue and Bop-Be, albums recorded for Impulse!, mainly feature the compositions of Haden, Motian and Redman, as opposed to Jarrett's own, which dominated the previous albums. Jarrett's compositions and the strong musical identities of the group members gave this ensemble a very distinctive sound. The quartet's music is an amalgam of free jazz, straight-ahead post-bop, gospel music, and exotic, Middle-Eastern-sounding improvisations.
In the mid/late 1970s Jarrett led a "European quartet" concurrently with the American quartet, which was recorded by ECM. This combo consisted of saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Palle Danielsson, and drummer Jon Christensen. They played in a style similar to that of the American quartet, but with many of the avant-garde and Americana elements replaced by the European folk and classical music influences that characterized the work of ECM artists at the time, e.g. Nude Ants album from 1979.
Jarrett became involved in a legal wrangle following the release of the album Gaucho in 1980 by the U.S. rock band Steely Dan. The album's title track, credited to Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, bore an undeniable resemblance to Jarrett's "Long As You Know You're Living Yours", from Jarrett's European quartet 1974 Belonging album. When a Musician magazine interviewer pointed out the similarity, Becker admitted that he loved the Jarrett composition and Fagen said they had been influenced by it. After their comments were published, Jarrett sued, and Becker and Fagen were forced to add his name to the credits and to include him in the royalties.Don't Mess with Steely Dan; Brian Sweet, Steely Dan: Reelin' in the Years (London: Omnibus Press, 1994), p. 144.
Jarrett's first album for ECM, Facing You (1971), was a solo piano date recorded in the studio. He has continued to record solo piano albums in the studio intermittently throughout his career, including Staircase (1976), Invocations/The Moth and the Flame (1981), and The Melody at Night, With You (1999). Book of Ways (1986) is a studio recording of clavichord solos.
The studio albums are modestly successful entries in the Jarrett catalog, but in 1973, Jarrett also began playing totally improvised solo concerts, and it is the popularity of these voluminous concert recordings that made him one of the best-selling jazz artists in history. Albums released from these concerts were Solo Concerts: Bremen/Lausanne (1973), to which Time Magazine gave its 'Jazz Album of the Year' award; The Köln Concert (1975), which became the best-selling piano recording in history; and Sun Bear Concerts (1976) – a 10-LP (and later 6-CD) box set.
Another of Jarrett's solo concerts, Dark Intervals (1987, Tokyo), had less of a free-form improvisation feel to it because of the brevity of the pieces. Sounding more like a set of short compositions, these pieces are nonetheless entirely improvised.
After a hiatus, Jarrett returned to the extended solo improvised concert format with Paris Concert (1990), Vienna Concert (1991), and La Scala (1995), before his career was interrupted by chronic fatigue syndrome. These later concerts tend to be more influenced by classical music than the earlier ones, reflecting his interest in composers such as Bach and Shostakovich, and are mostly less indebted to popular genres such as blues and gospel. In the liner notes to Vienna Concert, Jarrett named the performance his greatest achievement and the fulfillment of everything he was aiming to accomplish.
Jarrett has commented that his best performances have been when he has had only the slightest notion of what he was going to play at the next moment. He also said that most people don't know "what he does", which relates to what Miles Davis said to him expressing bewilderment – as to how Jarrett could "play from nothing". In the liner notes of the Bremen Lausanne album Jarrett states something to the effect that he is a conduit for the 'Creator', something his mother had apparently discussed with him.
Jarrett's 100th solo performance in Japan was captured on video at Suntory Hall, Tokyo on April 14, 1987, and released the same year. The recording was titled Solo Tribute. This is a set of almost all standard songs. Another video recording, titled Last Solo, was released in 1987 from a live solo concert at Kan-i Hoken hall in Tokyo, recorded January 25, 1984. Both of these recordings were reissued on Image Entertainment DVD in 2002.
In the late 1990s, Jarrett was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and was unable to leave his home for long periods of time. It was during this period that he recorded The Melody at Night, With You, a solo piano effort consisting of jazz standards presented with very little of the reinterpretation he usually employs. The album had originally been a Christmas gift to his second wife, Rose Anne.
By 2000, Jarrett had returned to touring, both solo and with the Standards Trio. Two 2002 solo concerts in Japan, Jarrett's first solo piano concerts following his illness, were released on the 2005 CD Radiance (a complete concert in Osaka, and excerpts from one in Tokyo), and the 2006 DVD Tokyo Solo (the entire Tokyo performance). In contrast with previous concerts (which were generally a pair of continuous improvisations 30–40 minutes long), the 2002 concerts consist of a linked series of shorter improvisations (some as short as a minute and a half, a few of fifteen or twenty minutes).
In September 2005 at Carnegie Hall, Jarrett performed his first solo concert in North America in more than ten years, released a year later as a double-CD set, The Carnegie Hall Concert.
On November 26, 2008, he performed solo in the Salle Pleyel in Paris, and a few days later, on December 1, at London's Royal Festival Hall, marking the first time Jarrett had played solo in London in seventeen years. These concerts were released in October 2009 on the album Paris / London: Testament.Keith Jarrett Biography, All About Jazz. Retrieved April 6, 2010
The Standards Trio
In 1983, at the suggestion of ECM head Manfred Eicher, Jarrett asked bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette, with whom he had worked on Peacock's 1977 album Tales of Another, to record an album of jazz standards, simply titled Standards, Volume 1. Two more albums, Standards, Volume 2 and Changes, both recorded at the same session, followed soon after. The success of these albums and the group's ensuing tour, which came as traditional acoustic post-bop was enjoying an upswing in the early 1980s, led to this new Standards Trio becoming one of the premier working groups in jazz, and certainly one of the most enduring, continuing to record and tour for more than twenty-five years. The trio has recorded numerous live and studio albums consisting primarily of jazz repertory material.
The Jarrett-Peacock-DeJohnette trio also produced recordings that consist largely of challenging original material, including 1987's Changeless. Several of the standards albums contain an original track or two, some attributed to Jarrett, but most are group improvisations. The live recordings Inside Out and Always Let Me Go (both released in 2001) marked a renewed interest by the trio in wholly improvised free jazz. By this point in their history, the musical communication among these three men had become nothing short of telepathic, and their group improvisations frequently take on a complexity that sounds almost composed. The Standards Trio undertakes frequent world tours of recital halls (the only venues in which Jarrett, a notorious stickler for acoustics, will play) and is one of the few truly successful jazz groups to play both straight-ahead (as opposed to smooth) and free jazz.
A related recording, At the Deer Head Inn (1992), is a live album of standards recorded with Paul Motian replacing DeJohnette, at the venue in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania, 40 miles from Jarrett's hometown, where he had his first job as a jazz pianist. It was the first time Jarrett and Motian had played together since the demise of the American quartet sixteen years earlier.Smith, Steve. "40 Years Old, a Musical House Without Walls". New York Times, December 23, 2009
Since the early 1970s, Jarrett's success as a jazz musician has enabled him to maintain a parallel career as a classical composer and pianist, recording almost exclusively for ECM Records.
In The Light, an album made in 1973, consists of short pieces for solo piano, strings, and various chamber ensembles, including a string quartet and a brass quintet, and a piece for cellos and trombones. This collection demonstrates a young composer's affinity for a variety of classical styles.
Luminessence (1974) and Arbour Zena (1975) both combine composed pieces for strings with improvising jazz musicians, including Jan Garbarek and Charlie Haden. The strings here have a moody, contemplative feel that is characteristic of the "ECM sound" of the 1970s, and is also particularly well-suited to Garbarek's keening saxophone improvisations. From an academic standpoint, these compositions are dismissed by many classical music aficionados as lightweight, but Jarrett appeared to be working more towards a synthesis between composed and improvised music at this time, rather than the production of formal classical works. From this point on, however, his classical work would adhere to more conventional disciplines.
Ritual (1977) is a composed solo piano piece recorded by Dennis Russell Davies that is somewhat reminiscent of Jarrett's own solo piano recordings.
The Celestial Hawk (1980) is a piece for orchestra, percussion, and piano that Jarrett performed and recorded with the Syracuse Symphony under Christopher Keene. This piece is the largest and longest of Jarrett's efforts as a classical composer.
Bridge of Light (1993) is the last recording of classical compositions to appear under Jarrett's name. The album contains three pieces written for a soloist with orchestra, and one for violin and piano. The pieces date from 1984 and 1990.
In 1988 New World Records released the CD Lou Harrison: Piano Concerto and Suite for Violin, Piano and Small Orchestra, featuring Jarrett on piano, with Naoto Otomo conducting the piano concerto with the New Japan Philharmonic. Robert Hughes conducted the Suite for Violin, Piano, and Small Orchestra. In 1992 came the release of Jarrett's performance of Peggy Glanville-Hicks's Etruscan Concerto, with Dennis Russell Davies conducting the Brooklyn Philharmonic. This was released on Music Masters Classics, with pieces by Lou Harrison and Terry Riley. In 1995 Music Masters Jazz released a CD on which one track featured Jarrett performing the solo piano part in Lousadzak, a 17-minute piano concerto by American composer Alan Hovhaness. The conductor again was Davies. Most of Jarrett's classical recordings are of older repertoire, but he may have been introduced to this modern work by his one-time manager George Avakian, who was a friend of the composer. Jarrett has also recorded classical works for ECM by composers such as Bach, Handel, Shostakovich, and Arvo Pärt.
In 2004, Jarrett was awarded the Léonie Sonning Music Prize. The award, usually associated with classical musicians and composers, had previously been given to only one other jazz musician – Miles Davis.
Jarrett has also played harpsichord, clavichord, organ, soprano saxophone, drums, and many other instruments. He often played saxophone and various forms of percussion in the American quartet, though his recordings since the breakup of that group have rarely featured these instruments. On the majority of his recordings in the last twenty years, he has played acoustic piano only. He has spoken with some regret of his decision to give up playing the saxophone, in particular.
On April 15, 1978, Jarrett was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. His music has also been used on many television shows, including The Sopranos on HBO. The 2001 German film Bella Martha (English title: Mostly Martha), whose music consultant was ECM founder and head Manfred Eicher, features Jarrett's "Country", from the European quartet album My Song.http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0246772/soundtrack. Retrieved January 16, 2010.
One of Jarrett's trademarks is his frequent, loud vocalizations (grunting, squealing, and tuneless singing), similar to that of Glenn Gould, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, Ralph Sutton, Willie "The Lion" Smith, Paul Asaro, and Cecil Taylor. Jarrett is also physically active while playing: writhing, gyrating, and almost dancing on the piano bench. These behaviors occur in his jazz and improvised solo performances, but are for the most part absent whenever he plays classical repertory. Jarrett has noted his vocalizations are based on involvement, not content, and are more of an interaction than a reaction.
Jarrett is notoriously intolerant of audience noise, including coughing and other involuntary sounds, especially during solo improvised performances. He feels that extraneous noise affects his musical inspiration and distracts from the purity of the sound. As a result, cough drops are routinely supplied to Jarrett's audiences in cold weather, and he has been known to stop playing and lead the crowd in a group cough.
This intolerance was made clear during a concert on October 31, 2006, at the restored Salle Pleyel in Paris. After making an impassioned plea to the audience to stop coughing, Jarrett walked out of the concert during the first half, refusing at first to continue, although he did subsequently return to the stage to finish the first half, and also the second. A further solo concert three days later went undisturbed, following an official announcement beforehand urging the audience to minimize extraneous noise. In 2008, during the first half of another Paris concert, Jarrett complained to the audience about the quality of the piano that he had been given, walked off between solos and remonstrated with staff at the venue. Following an extended interval, the piano was replaced.
In 2007, in concert in Perugia during the Umbria Jazz Festival, angered by photographers, Jarrett implored the audience:
I do not speak Italian, so someone who speaks English can tell all these assholes with cameras to turn them fucking off right now. Right now! No more photographs, including that red light right there. If we see any more lights, I reserve the right (and I think the privilege is yours to hear us), but I reserve the right and Jack and Gary reserve the right to stop playing and leave the goddamn city!
This caused the organizers of the Festival to declare that they would never invite Jarrett again. In 2013, Jarrett returned to Perugia and once again walked off stage when he spotted someone in the front rows taking photos. He returned to the stage and ordered all stage lights be turned off—performing the entire show in the dark.
Jarrett has been known for many years to be strongly opposed to electronic instruments and equipment. His liner notes for the 1973 album Solo Concerts: Bremen/Lausanne states: "I am, and have been, carrying on an anti-electric-music crusade of which this is an exhibit for the prosecution. Electricity goes through all of us and is not to be relegated to wires." He has largely eschewed electric or electronic instruments since his time with Miles Davis.
Jarrett is a follower of the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff (1866-1949), and in 1980 recorded an album of Gurdjieff's compositions, called Sacred Hymns, for ECM. Jarrett has also visited Princeton University's ESP lab run by Robert Jahn.
During the second half of the solo concert at the Salle Pleyel in Paris on July 4, 2014, Keith Jarret was in the middle of lecturing the audience for the second time that evening about remaining quiet when he raised his hands and left the stage after a British member of the audience instructed him to stop lecturing and go back to playing music. He re-emerged after 10 minutes of imploring ovation and attempted to reconcile with the audience by pointing out that the voice was British and did not speak for the French audience when a French teenager began swearing at him (in English) to play music. Jarrett immediately left the stage again to howls of boos and multiple walk outs. He finally re-emerged 15 minutes later and appeared to be choked with emotion when he stated that he no longer had any music to give, and left for the third and final time. The members of the audience who didn’t immediately leave at that point stayed to jeer and a sizable portion descended on the entrance door to the stage with event staff engaged in consolatory conversations.
During the second half of the solo concert at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome on July 11, 2014, Keith Jarrett called an Italian woman in the audience (who had taken a photograph) an asshole.Jarrett, Keith. The Art of Improvisation. (DVD). Euroarts, 2005 Garratt, John (May 27, 2013). "Keith Jarrett / Gary Peacock / Jack DeJohnette: Somewhere". PopMatters. Retrieved February 5, 2014. Minim (January 24, 2011). "Why you should be as unprofessional as Keith Jarrett". PlayJazz. Retrieved February 5, 2014. "Jazz Legend Hates Cell Phone Cameras More Than We Do". Idolator. August 9, 2007. Retrieved February 5, 2014. Conrad, Thomas (July 13, 2013). "Keith Jarrett’s Dark Night in Perugia". Jazz Times. Retrieved February 5, 2014. Chase, Christopher W. (October 1, 2010). "Music, Aesthetics and Legitimation: Keith Jarrett and the 'Fourth Way'". Academia.edu. Retrieved March 29, 2012. Samuel, Lawrence R. (2011). Supernatural America: A Cultural History. ABC-CLIO. p. 165. ISBN 0-313-39899-2. Retrieved March 29, 2012. Carey, Benedict (February 10, 2007). "A Princeton Lab on ESP Plans to Close Its Doors". The New York Times. p. 2. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
Jarrett lives in an 18th-century farmhouse in Oxford Township, New Jersey, in rural Warren County. He uses a converted barn on his property as a recording studio and practice facility.
Jarrett's first marriage, to Margot Erney, ended in divorce. He and his second wife Rose Anne (née Colavito) divorced in 2010 after a thirty-year marriage. Jarrett has four younger brothers, two of whom are involved in music. Chris Jarrett is also a pianist, and Scott Jarrett is a producer and songwriter. Noah Jarrett, one of two sons from Jarrett's first marriage, is a bassist and composer. Another son, Gabe, is a drummer based in Vermont.
Jarrett has acknowledged that audiences, and even fellow musicians, have at times been convinced he is African American, due to his appearance. He relates an incident when African American jazz musician Ornette Coleman approached him backstage, and said something like, "Man, you've got to be black. You just have to be black", to which Jarrett replied, "I know. I know. I'm working on it.""A One-of-a-Kind Artist Prepares for His Solo". The Wall Street Journal. January 9, 2009. Retrieved April 8, 2009. "The Blackest White Folks We Know", The Root, July 2011 Interview, Fresh Aire with Terry Gross, September 11, 2000