Keith Jarrett Trio: The Cure (ECM 1440)

 

Keith Jarrett Trio
The Cure

Keith Jarrett piano
Gary Peacock bass
Jack DeJohnette drums
Recorded April 21, 1990 at Town Hall, New York
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Keith Jarrett starts yet another indispensable live trio recording off just right with a heaping helping of Thelonious in “Bemsha Swing” before Jack DeJohnette and Gary Peacock show us just what swing is all about as they jump in and stir up every fish in this jazzy sea. Already we cannot help but be bedazzled by DeJohnette’s understated cymbal work and Peacock’s deep digs for the recap. “Old Folks,” another long stretch of tireless invention, turns up the tenderness. As DeJohnette wrings out all sorts of colors from his brushes, from Jarrett we get a lifetime’s worth of memorable highs. Likewise from Peacock, who opens his solo against a watery backing. One of the trio’s finest grooves on record. Also invigorating is a rendition of “Woody’n You,” which boasts another fine solo from the man at the bass. A true winner. Contrasts abound between the optimism of “Golden Earrings” and the depth and sweep of “Body And Soul.” Yet again, Jarrett’s rhythm section astounds here with the complexity of its craft. Next is the title track, a glorious ride into the bluesy “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be.”

Yet the undisputed highlight of this set would have to be “Blame It On My Youth.” This soulful excursion, with its upward sweeping phrases (akin to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “All I Ask of You”), speaks with wondrous affinity. With his improvisatory wings in full spread, Jarrett molds this tune into something with shape, form, and structure. Such narrative perfection is hard to come by, and worth the price of admission alone for this lucky crowd.

Standing as a fine introduction to the gifts of this once-in-a-generation band, The Cure blends thoughtfulness, chops, and melodic strengths to astonishing effect. With all of this and more, it earns an easy spot in the Keith Jarrett Trio’s top five.

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