Pianist Keith Jarrett played New York's Carnegie Hall for the first time in nearly two years last night (June 22) as part of the JVC Jazz Festival, backed by trusty bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Ja

Pianist Keith Jarrett played New York's Carnegie Hall for the first time in nearly two years last night (June 22) as part of the JVC Jazz Festival, backed by trusty bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette. The performance was a precursor to Jarrett's Sept. 26 return to the venue, his first solo show in New York since April 1995. Tickets go on sale Sunday.

After a Jarrett introduction that slammed the Bush administration and the New York Times review of the artist's latest ECM album, "Radiance," the trio eased into a sweet version of "Tennessee Waltz" and an exceedingly pretty run through Paul Desmond's "Late Lament."

DeJohnette shined on Bud Powell's "Hallucinations" but Jarrett reclaimed the spotlight with gorgeous clustered chords at the end of "You Belong To Me," with Peacock nodding his head in approval at the song's conclusion. The first set ended with the sprightly "One for Majid," with DeJohnette showing flashes of his power.

The show went into another gear during the second-set opening "Green Dolphin Street," with Jarrett bringing forth pure melodic bliss atop an ace groove. The trio kept the pace peppy with "Last Night When We Were Young," accented by DeJohnette's delicate hi-hat work.

Three separate encores showcased "Somewhere" from "West Side Story," Thelonious Monk's "Straight No Chaser" and "When I Fall in Love." In spite of the audience's cheers, Jarrett lectured the crowd before the Monk tune for taking flash photographs, sternly demanding, "Do you know how to read? Do you want another encore?"

Such are Jarrett's quirks, and they continue to dazzle even fellow musicians. "This will be my musical highlight of the year," pianist Bruce Hornsby told Billboard.com after the show. "This is the one group my wife and I will travel a long way to see."

In related news, Jarrett is prominently featured on Columbia/Legacy's new Miles Davis boxed set, the long-anticipated "The Cellar Door Sessions 1970.” Due Sept. 13, the six-CD package finds Jarrett playing electric piano in a band that also boasts guitarist John McLaughlin, DeJohnette on drums, saxophonist Gary Bartz, bassist Michael Henderson and percussionist Airto Moreiera.