Keith Jarrett Trio: The Out-of-Towners (ECM 1900)

The Out-of-Towners

Keith Jarrett Trio
The Out-of-Towners

Keith Jarrett piano
Gary Peacock double-bass
Jack DeJohnette drums
Recorded live July 28, 2001 at State Opera, Munich
Engineer: Martin Pearson
Mastering: Morten Lund, Masterhuset
Produced by Manfred Eicher

With the insight of legitimate hypnotists, Keith Jarrett and his trio regress seven tunes with a flair for the unexpected. Recorded live at Munich’s State Opera in July of 2001, an especially productive year for the band, the performance whispers into life with a piano intro before waxing nostalgic in a sunny rendition of “I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me.” Jarrett, of course, shines at every turn, but his phenomenal rhythm section has rarely sounded more luminescent. Light in their step and playful in their virtuosity, Jarrett’s sidemen exude effortlessness. Peacock is worth singling out in this opening tune, in which he departs from his usual twang in favor of a smoother, subtler extroversion. He reverts to his tried and true in a rendition of “You’ve Changed” that turns to melted butter in the trio’s hands. With Jarrett’s delicate anchorage behind him, the bassist picks away at edifice of the song’s confusion to a core of resolve. Jarrett pours on the honey for the rejoinder, DeJohnette all the while brushing like the wings of a dying insect, swishing to the rhythm of a broken heart. Brushes turn to cymbals in an effervescent take on Cole Porter’s “I Love You,” which finds the drummer running a parallel course of emotional freedom alongside Jarrett. Artful solos abound.

The freely improvised title cut is a gem. Over its 20-minute vamp, the trio plays with such looseness that it can only cohere by sheer depth of listening. Peacock is the conductor of this epic train, DeJohnette adding dynamite charge to the rails throughout the ride. The follow-up is a crystalline “Five Brothers.” This tune by the great Gerry Mulligan is the very definition of smooth. Jarrett’s punch and charisma here exhaust the barriers around his concluding solo, a heart-stilling rendering of “It’s All In The Game.” Thus sworn by sunset, he walks into a darkening horizon, where rests the origins of these gifts, so selflessly given, which like the figures on the album’s cover are almost gone from view the moment we realize they were within us all along.

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