Keith Jarrett Trio
Keith Jarrett piano
Gary Peacock double bass
Jack DeJohnette drums
Recorded live July 11, 2009 at KKL Luzern Concert Hall
Engineer: Martin Pearson
Produced by Keith Jarrett
Executive producer: Manfred Eicher
In the same way that 2012 gave Keith Jarrett fans reason to celebrate with the awakening of Sleeper, so does 2013 bring light, placing us at the center of things in a magical new record from his nonpareil trio with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette. More than any other, this joint proves they are no mere instrumentalists but also singers, each in his way.
Somewhere was recorded—not live but alive—in Lucerne, Switzerland in July of 2009. Though it comes to us after a four-year steep, it is as fresh as the day it hit the ether. Jarrett opens with “Deep Space,” a protracted solo that leads into the Miles Davis classic “Solar.” If the transition between the two reveals anything, it is that these three souls, lit as they are by unwavering musical pilot lights, have traveled so far together for so long that the album’s title might as well be “Everywhere.” A feeling of openness and suspension emphasizes the three decades’ worth of magic that came together for this performance, each note a glow-in-the-dark star that still phosphoresces when the lights go down. Lest we get lost in the pitch of night, Jarrett lays down his runway particle by particle, giving his band mates all the guidance they need to fly. Peacock elicits a highlight or two in this 15-minute wind-up, flapping through changes like one among the album cover’s flock.
Jarrett is, while a technical genius, above all a connoisseur of melody. As if to prove this, “Stars Fell On Alabama” gives voice to the dark side of the moon for a beauty that needs no sun to shine. Here Peacock swings from Jarrett’s vines into the loosely woven “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea,” in which now DeJohnette stokes the fire. In the process, he does the impossible: emoting impressionistically with clearly delineated strokes. This only inspires Jarrett to passionate heights, every cluster from his fingers dotting the landscape with fresh flowers. Peacock’s ligament keeps us on track to a whimsical ending.
A 20-minute exposition of “Somewhere,” one of two tunes culled from West Side Story, finds every facet of its theatrical quality realized in the Jarrett addition “Everywhere.” Peacock moves like a throbbing heart in an early solo. Meanwhile, Jarrett’s left hand maintains a gentle metronome as the right tells its stories in the second person. The trio takes its second dip into the Bernstein songbook with a sparkling take on “Tonight.” Jarrett’s fingers dance up a storm, cascading into a fulsome solo from DeJohnette that leaves us floating along the strains of “I Thought About You,” which flows tenderly, sweetly, as it should.
Somewhere isn’t so much a homecoming as it is a shoring up of a structure that has already held firm against many tides. Jarrett’s ever-evolving pianism provides the aluminum siding, Peacock polishes the freshly installed hardwood floors, and DeJohnette fits new windows into every frame with until the house thrums with the presence of its longtime tenants. Being somewhere locates one not only in space, but also in time, and the album’s clip reminds us that improvisation is a luxury never to be taken for granted. In this spirit they sound more with it than ever, due in no small part to the recording, which stands comfortably at the lip of the stage and twirls with delight. The result is an album that holds its own alongside Still Live as one of the trio’s absolute finest.
(To hear samples of Somewhere, click here.)