Pianist Keith Jarrett staged his first solo concert at New York's Carnegie Hall in more than 10 years last night (Sept. 26).
Pianist Keith Jarrett staged his first solo concert at New York's Carnegie Hall in more than 10 years last night (Sept. 26), on the heels of a June trio show  with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette as part of the JVC Jazz Festival. The concert was recorded but according to a spokesperson for ECM Records, there are not yet specific plans for a potential release.
Jarrett wasted no time delivering what the audience, some members of which had traveled from other countries, was waiting for: harmonically challenging improvisations, heartbreaking ballads and the requisite grunting, foot stomping and strange body movements.
The five-song first set featured three fairly dissonant pieces, contrasted by two selections brimming with right-hand melodies. After an intermission, Jarrett played five more songs, with the second conjuring the artist's most melodious, extroverted side, and the last alternating effortlessly from minor to major key tonalities.
The first of five encores was an elegant ballad improvisation, followed by the Jarrett original "Mon Couer est Rouge" (first heard on his 1981 album "Concerts") and the vintage "My Song" (the title cut of a 1978 studio album with the European Quartet). The fourth was a stellar improvised blues that found Jarrett standing upright for the final flourish. The show closed with the standard "Time on My Hands."
As he did during the trio concert, Jarrett took time to slam the Bush administration, announcing, "I don't know how many of you are as embarrassed as I am about our government." He then told the crowd, "Tonight, you can be a human being in this room and that's OK with me," adding, "It's my show. I can do whatever I want."
Jarrett is gearing up for three upcoming solo concerts in Japan: Oct. 14 and 20 in Tokyo and Oct. 17 in Osaka. His most recent release, the live album "Radiance," debuted at No. 5 on Billboard's Top Jazz Albums chart.
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