KEITH JARRETT — The Köln Concert (review)

KEITH JARRETT — The Köln Concert album cover Live album · 1975 · Post-Fusion Contemporary Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
dreadpirateroberts
Improvisational magic.

It's difficult for me not to gush over this record. It's in my all time top ten albums and floored me when I first heard it. I'd read a lot about it and bought it 'cold', going off reviews alone and I was not disappointed.

Jarrett is fusing styles here, as he vamps on a few chords and just milks everything out of the technique of variation and repetition. It is a 'sit back and close your eyes' album, you let the ripple of notes transport you.

It's probably unfair to break the album into songs, but for a taste, if you don't enjoy 'Part I' you won't really like the rest of the album. Very indicative of the concert, 'Part I' begins with a trickle of notes and builds up to heavier chords and then drops away for more crescendos, before eventually moving into some strong rhythmic passages that get a blues feel going toward the middle. It drops off in intensity for a period and climbs again to end with Jarrett seeming to jab at the keys to hold a ragged rhythm.

Throughout the concert you will hear Jarret vocalising and for me it adds to the moment rather than detracts. He's there, his mind, his hands, everything about him is right there playing that concert in Koln. Every note seems to be charging through his body.

On the CD the concert is broken into four tracks, 'Part I' is the 26 minute opener and 'Part II' is broken into three tracks, ending with a perfect coda-like expression of the ideas in 'Part I'.

It is an astounding concert in which Keith Jarrett varies his attack on the keys, his rhythm and his ideas. He really commits himself to the pieces he is creating here. Clearly, some of the passages will feel more 'classical' than 'jazz' but he is using the spirit of jazz - improvisation, throughout the entire the concert. So 'The Koln Concert' is probably for fans of the piano and the ideals of improvisation. Five stars for me.

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