Album Remarks & Appraisals:
The Guardian (UK)
This release by Keith Jarrett's celebrated Standards Trio in the group's 30th year was recorded live four years ago - so it's safe to say that the fastidious leader must now be happy with this set of improvisations on classics, including the West Side Story title track, Miles Davis's Solar, and two originals. Deep Space makes a seductively glimmering overture.
All About Jazz
It's been a long time since the trio has stepped into a studio, and the easiest explanation is that this really is a group best heard live - a point driven home by this 65-minute, six-song set. In addition to Davis, the trio works its way through a list of equally classic songwriters. A particularly lovely take of Frank Perkins and Mitchell Parish's "Stars Fell on Alabama," finds Peacock, combining pure taste and tone, remaining at the top of his game. A quirky rendition of Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" is largely constructed around this trio's remarkable ability to suggest swing.
Personnel: Keith Jarrett (piano); Gary Peacock (double bass); Jack DeJohnette (drums).
Recording information: KKL Luzern Concert Hall (07/11/2009).
Photographer: Daniela Yohannes.
It is almost superfluous to write about Keith Jarrett's three-decades-and-running standards trio with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette. Given their recorded output, it's easy to discern why they are regarded by many as the greatest living piano trio. They have continued to imbue the standards book with new dimensions of meaning, creating a near symbiotic dialogue in harmonic and rhythmic invention while remaining emotionally resonant. The performances on Somewhere were recorded in 2009, and are the first offerings by the group on record in four years, though they continue to play select dates annually. Since their three previous releases were all taken from a 2001 tour, this show reflects an eight-year growth period. The opener is a Jarrett improvisation entitled "Deep Space," which is a building block solo intro to Miles Davis' "Solar," and which this group has recorded before -- several times in fact -- but never with the kind of lyric audacity and rumbling low-end counterpoint that Peacock puts on offer here. There's a popping read of Harold Arlen's and Ted Koehler's "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," with Jarrett playing chunky, staggered chords that manage to slip 4/4 as he dialogues with DeJohnette. The pair go at the time signature from both ends, refusing its authority until not to do so would result in its collapse. Peacock binds their conversation while finding his own way in and out of an implied yet never directly engaged sense of swing. The two readings of Leonard Bernstein's title track and "Tonight" from West Side Story are the scene stealers, though. The former is a 19-plus-minute extravaganza that begins in halting, shimmering beauty and gets stripped to its essentials before being reconstructed and reshaped from building blocks into the driving, hypnotic improvisational ostinato coda Jarrett calls "Everywhere," with breathtaking chord voicings, forceful, middle-register bass flourishes, and awe-inspiring tom-tom and cymbal work by DeJohnette; the track's conclusion is drenched in royal gospel and regal blues. "Tonight" is performed at near sprint tempo and played with fingerpopping swing and joyous abandon. Jimmy Van Heusen's and Johnny Mercer's ballad "I Thought About You" closes the set on a quieter note, because there was simply nowhere else to go with so much electricity in the air. It's a soft, graceful, elegant way to finish another sublime chapter in this group's recorded legacy. ~ Thom Jurek