Keith Jarrett Trio: Inside Out (ECM 1780)

Inisde Out

Keith Jarrett Trio
Inside Out

Keith Jarrett piano
Gary Peacock double-bass
Jack DeJohnette drums
Recorded July 26 and 28, 2000 at Royal Festival Hall, London
Engineer: Martin Pearson
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Of his approach to this 2001 album, recorded live the year before in London, pianist Keith Jarrett says, “Don’t ask. Don’t think. Don’t anticipate. Just participate.” Where for so long he and his partners Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette had served up piping hot new takes on old recipes, here they decided to do away with all that and, with the exception of their version of the evergreen “When I Fall In Love” that concludes, let the music create itself. What in others’ hands would have been a risky venture turns into a balanced, intuitive record from these most capable sound-smiths.

Jarrett, Peacock, and DeJohnette are undoubtedly masters of their craft, but each album has tended to highlight the skills of one over the others. In this case, DeJohnette is the trio’s North Star. He breaks in the stage like a good pair of shoes, making oil from grit and smoothing the way for Jarrett’s spontaneous fountains at every turn. With a freshness that recalls his Special Edition days, he emboldens the tessellated “From The Body” in such a way that Jarrett’s freestyle analyses can shed fullest sunlight on the unfolding story. Of that story, we get floods of exposition in a sandwich of registers. Peacock muscles his way through with a twangy abandon that characterizes so much of his playing from the period, leaving at the bottom of this crucible a pianism so angelic that it pulls itself skyward until it reaches the beginning of itself.

DeJohnette unpacks further brilliance in the equally jagged title track, which along with the first starts big and works down to the finer core before rebuilding from that core something new and glorious. His powerful brushwork and meditative swing treats every strand as if it were a means to an end and leaves Jarrett to explore their finer implications in a bluesy afterglow. The latter’s right hand has a mind of its own as it skips its way across the keyboard. “341 Free Fade” opens with tantalizing string games from Peacock, bringing back the trio’s tried and true formula of building molecules from atoms. DeJohnette delights yet again, his hi-hat carrying a heavy load into outer space as he tinkers gorgeously around the halo of its kit. And after leading the way through the foot-stomping ritual that is “Riot,” he opens the pathway to genius with his cymbals in “When I Fall In Love.” By means of barest whisper, he stargazes, trusting life’s stresses to Jarrett’s hands and setting them to fly like pieces of paper above a campfire—glowing as they rise, turning into patches of night, indistinguishable from the rest.

Inside Out is unafraid to live up to its title. Although on the surface it seems more abstract than might a typical standards outing, you may just find yourself lulled by its inherent, not to mention accessible, profundity. Were the album a genetic experiment, each track would be a kink in the DNA helix that makes its bearer unique.

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