Keith Jarrett Trio: Changeless (ECM 1392)

Keith Jarrett Trio

Keith Jarrett piano
Gary Peacock bass
Jack DeJohnette drums
Recorded October 14, 1987 (Denver); October 11, 1987 (Dallas); October 9, 1987 (Lexington); October 12, 1987 (Houston)
Engineer: Tom McKenney
Produced by Manfred Eicher

By the time of this release, Keith Jarrett’s trio with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette was at the height of its creative powers (actually, they started high and simply went higher). One could already hear from their dip into the standards pool that Jarrett’s plenitude of creativity was a force to be reckoned with, if not simply enjoyed, and all the more so in such dovetailed company. That being said, the group was capable of far more than just extending a well-worn tune to a 20-minute diatribe of philosophical proportions. Although Jarrett himself had established quite the reputation as a solo artist, he had only rarely overlaid those transparencies over the topography of his group work. But then there is “Dancing,” the machinations of which open this positively transcendent quatrain of live recordings with a protracted leap of improvisation. As per usual, Peacock sparks the trio’s deepest running flame, and his amplified bass line herein lulls us into a memorable groove. The ostinato feel builds through Jarrett’s grinding left hand, while DeJohnette’s never-cease-to-amazing subtleties draw us in. This energetic yet trance-like state leaves us suitably cleansed for “Endless,” which is one of the most gorgeous things the trio has ever put out. There’s something profound going on here, something that proves the title isn’t just a catchy cue, but rather signals a modus operandi for Jarrett and his cohorts. Peacock’s soloing is revelatory here and spins us into the filmic fade-in of “Lifeline.” With an ear turned inward and his heart beating a versa for every vice, Jarrett floats a flower of resolution down a neorealist canyon. Soil is scarce, though watered all the same by the occasional storms of a hidden life in “Ecstasy.” This aptly titled closer is a tide that simultaneously ebbs and flows, so that the shoreline is forever redrawn.

Perhaps by no coincidence of title, this disc is on par with Changes as a different and sacred side of the trio’s sonorous rites. In some ways these pieces read like Jarrett solos while at the same time being duly enriched by the presence of Peacock and DeJohnette. There is so much to be heard in the experience, and even more to be experienced in the heard.

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2 thoughts on “Keith Jarrett Trio: Changeless (ECM 1392)

  1. positively transcendent indeed Tyran. I have found myself returning to this recently and have found in it depths of brilliance and pure joy unparalled in anything else by Jarrett, and I know more than 90% of his output quite well. I would venture to say this is the high point of the trios output. I am now seeking the elusive vinyl version. Thanks once again for your wonderful site.

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