Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Video Performance: Keith Jarrett Plays "All The Things You Are"

Here's a great rendition of the jazz standard, "All the Things You Are", played by the legendary pianist Keith Jarrett, drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist Gary Peacock. These three performers have played many times together in the classic jazz trio format (piano-bass-drums).

The entire performance is wonderful, but pay special attention to Keith's long introduction -- an unbelievable cascade of fast notes played with the utmost clarity and precision. You can hear every single note clearly yet sense how all those notes work together in larger gestures. This is a sure sign of some great fingerwork!

You'll probably notice something else interesting about Mr. Jarrett's performance -- sometimes he gets up from the bench and plays while standing! Well, Keith Jarrett is one of those world-class performers who absolutely loses himself in his performances. He really "gets into it" and if he's particularly inspired he may stand up, writhing/dancing about and even "singing" along with his own improvisations. That's right -- most of this performance is improvised. Almost everything in this piece (besides the main theme and the song's harmonic structure) is invented on the spot by the three musicians working together.

So...don't get too distracted by this kind of physical theatricality. (And please, any of my students out there shouldn't come into the next lesson thinking it's a good thing to stand up while playing. Hmmm....what have I gotten myself into here?) Some people do get bothered by this. But I think it's just his way of becoming completely absorbed in the act of spontaneous creation. After all, the music they make together is beautiful, and no two performances will ever be the same.

I hope to put some more of Keith Jarrett's performances on the blog in the future -- keep checking back as I add to the "Video" category.

Read the interesting interview with Jarrett in (from 2000). Wikipedia article on Jarrett here.


Jason Heath said...

Alright! Nice to see some YouTube going up on your blog. Also, I love Keith Jarrett.

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