Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Out-of-Towners


I just bought this CD today, and was driven to the keyboard by ‘I love you’ on track 3. DeJohnette strikes through here with an arrow-straight and taut solo for cymbals alone, and Jarrett caresses it with a couple of notes from the piano a minute before the end. It’s a nice touch, and the audience is ablaze by the end.

However, it’s not all arresting solos; this is a disc of ‘standards’ — that is, already popular melodies, presented but reworked — and although many more knowledgeable jazz listeners will instantly recognise them and what has been done with them before, I don’t, so this disc has a different flavour for me. I find the music has a traditionalist nucleus which I can’t quite discern, and the trio’s circling around it illustrates it by its absence in what they actually play. So it sounds old and new at once.

I still haven’t finished listening to the disc, so I’ll give you the blurb now and finish this later.

Balancing standards and jazz tunes with Keith Jarrett originals, the trio keeps the music in tight focus. There is spirited blues-based group improvisation in the title track, and shared joy as the musicians roar into “Five Brothers”, the old Gerry Mulligan favourite, or negotiate the blissful, enraptured melody of Cole Porter’s “I Love You.” At the album’s conclusion, Keith Jarrett returns to the stage alone — a rare moment in the trio’s recordings — to play a heart dilating rendition of the ballad “It’s All In The Game.” — so tender that it could easily have fit onto his “The Melody At Night With You” solo disc.

On preview: go buy.

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