Monday, February 27, 2023

Rick Beato interviews the great Keith Jarrett

Beato's notes:

Keith Jarrett is an American jazz pianist and composer born in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1945. He is considered one of the most influential and accomplished jazz musicians of his generation, having recorded dozens of albums as a solo artist and as a leader of various ensembles. Known for his virtuosic piano playing and improvisational skills, Jarrett has been recognized for his unique ability to blend elements of jazz, classical music, and world music into his compositions. He has collaborated with many of the world's top musicians and has received numerous awards throughout his career, cementing his place in the pantheon of jazz greats.

This is my interview with Keith Jarrett.

Special thanks to: Pat Ryan, Keith Williams, David Bendeth, Steve Cloud, Caroline Fontanieu, Martin Geyer, ECM Records and very special thanks to Akiko Jarrett.

It's all good, but pay particular attention to the section where Beato plays Jarrett a solo improvisation on Miles Davis's "Solar" that Jarrett had done in the 1980s. From that point to the end of the interview is superb. Excellent music – there's another piece of music after than. And an important document in music history.

Beato introduces that segment at about 31:01. Beato juxtaposes video of Jarrett listening NOW with video of Jarrett's playing THEN. The performance is masterful and entrancing. Notice how Jarrett played the piano with his whole body, often rising up from the piano bench and dancing at the keyboard – something he can no longer do as a consequence of strokes he suffered in 2018. Watch Jarrett's face as he listens.

Beato: That's riding the wave.

Jarrett: Wow, that's great.

Beato: That is really just amazing. It just all flow. Nothing is, is anything even going through your mind when you're playing. You're just channeling, right?

Jarrett: Yeah.

From the Wikipedia:

Jarrett's race has been a source of commentary by media and activists throughout his career, as he has reported being recurrently mistaken as a Black person. In a 2000 interview with Terry Gross, Jarrett relates an incident at the Heidelberg Jazz Festival in the Rhine-Neckar region of Germany when he was protested by Black musicians for something akin to cultural appropriation. He also tells of a separate moment in his career when black jazz musician Ornette Coleman approached him backstage, and "said something like 'Man, you've got to be black. You just have to be black.'" Jarrett replied "I know. I know. I'm working on it."

Me too, me too.

Check out my collection of anecdotes, Emotion and Magic in Musical Performance, Version 11.

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