Monday, October 26, 2009

Autumn day

Autumn day - mushrooms, originally uploaded by peripathetic.

The Guardian says today should really be a bank holiday, so it's good fortune that I decided before the weekend that today would be a day off.

So after reading the article and smiling at my freedom, I had a cup of hot coffee and headed out into the very autumnal local woodland for some photography, which you can see more of if you click the photo and explore the rest of the set.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Multicoloured Belfast City Hall

Yes, I know this is blurry and horrible, but our City Hall has been given, from what I can tell, just a new electrical system, a café, and a lick of paint.

Anyway, the really striking thing about it is that they've taken to making it look like a rainbow at night. The colours shift and merge into one another. It's a striking effect and very welcome as we head into darker nights...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Keith Jarrett - Testament

Keith Jarrett - Testament, originally uploaded by peripathetic.

It is NOT natural to sit at a piano, bring no material, clear your mind completely of musical ideas, and play something that is of lasting value and brand new (not to mention that these are live concerts, and the audience's role was of utmost chemical importance: they could change the potential and shape of the music easier than the difference of pianos or hall sound). I then did a series of solo concerts in Japan in the spring of 2008 that seemed to hit a technical high-note in the history of my solo events. I wasn't sure what could possibly happen next after these concerts.

Then my wife left me (this was the third time in four years). I quickly scrambled to stay alive (music had been my life for 60 years) by setting up a Carnegie Hall Concert (a leaflet inserted into the program for my 25th Anniversary trio concert there in October 2008 advertised a solo concert in late January 2009), but before I did that concert, Steve Cloud managed to quickly come up with two solo concerts in Europe: Paris and London. I had not played solo in London for, I believe, 18 years. These were the first solo events since my wife had left. I was in an incredibly vulnerable emotional state, but I admit to wondering whether this might not be a "good" thing for the music. It truly didn't matter; I had to do them. - Keith Jarrett

When disasters have befallen me, I have not had the (difficult) good fortune of being able to set up a concert in Carnegie Hall to blow the blues away. And in the two concerts recorded on these three CDs, Keith Jarrett certainly does blow his blues away - or if not entirely away, there's a lot more here besides The Blues, or Gospel, or the lush, tearjerking tunes that nestle into the corners of your mind for months on end.

The first concert, on CD1, is from the Salle Pleyel, Paris, recorded on the day before Thanksgiving in 2008. The second concert, spanning CDs 2 and 3, is from the Royal Festival Hall, London, recorded on the following Monday. It's sometimes tempting to feel, when you remember what you were doing on the date a recording was made, that you have somehow influenced the music - in my case, that a warm Thanksgiving table, very special people, new experiences and a sense of quiet acceleration at the start of winter have leaked into these CDs as if by magic - but of course, that's wrong. We all influence music anew each time we listen to it, and if there is anything fresh and bracing about Jarrett's creations here, there is also plenty that is warm and slow and like a summer night. This is music that will last until next spring - and next century.

I won't spend time giving a 'proper review', except to say that these concerts aren't as raw and fragmented as the earlier album 'Radiance', nor are they quite as coherent and complete as the Carnegie Hall Concert. They do, however, keep Jarrett pecking at fresh material in short episodes, the results are always satisfying, there is always something old behind them, and those tearjerkers are there too. Obviously, you should really buy the CDs as soon as possible, but first, read Jarrett's liner-notes at Amazon, and have a preview listen there - but a better listen at the ECM Player.