Album Remarks & Appraisals:
The complete Hymns, Spheres, at last available on compact disc. Keith Jarrett's first encounter with the Karl Joseph Riepp baroque organ of the Abbey of Ottobeuren - one of the great improvisers of the age communing with one of Europe's most famous instruments - brought forth some truly unique music.
The 1976 double LP release has long been a favorite amongst organ music aficionados as well as Jarrett's loyal following, admired for Jarrett's spontaneous improvisational resourcefulness, the variety of textures drawn from the instrument, and for the sheer physical power of the sound in the church, beautifully captured in the ECM recording.
Personnel: Keith Jarrett (organ).
Recording information: Ottobeuren Abbey, Germany (09/1976); Tonstudio Bauer Ludwigsburg (09/1976).
Photographer: Roberto Masotti.
Restlessly searching out new territory for improvisations, Keith Jarrett tackles the massive Karl Joseph Riepp "Trinity" Baroque pipe organ at the Benedictine Abbey in Ottobeuren, Germany. He starts out with a pastoral "Hymn of Remembrance," then embarks upon a long nine-movement series of "Spheres" before closing with a grand "Hymn of Release." The devotee of Jarrett's piano will quickly discover that his organ idiom has nothing to do with his piano performances; he likes slow-moving, pulseless, sometimes dissonant, sometimes reverent or ecstatic smears of sound (which makes practical sense in the hugely reverberant churches where pipe organs are found). In the ninth movement, Jarrett can fool you into thinking that he is playing floating electronic space music (on an 18th-century organ!). Yet if one must apply a category, despite the improvisatory element, this double-CD is contemporary classical organ music, much closer to that of Olivier Messiaen than anything in the jazz world -- and only intermittently as striking. (Note: on the single CD issue, only "Spheres" is listed). ~ Richard S. Ginell
Submitted on 01/11/13 by Daniel S.