Monday, October 27, 2008

Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette @ Symphony Hall 10/27/08

Walking into Symphony Hall, I was wondering what I could write about this concert. I've seen the Standards Trio multiple times, and they've always put on a brilliant, beautiful, and fairly predictable show. Lots of standards, at least one ten minute vamp at the end of a tune The inevitable tension of "Will Keith freak out at the audience?" Basically, every trio record ever recorded, plus a little drama. This has been the knock on Keith for years, especially among musicians. For his part, Keith insists, as he restated in concert notes distributed at the doors, that the point of the trio, even after 25 years, is that the vessel of the presentation is so much less important than the content.

He proved it tonight. Whether planned or not, the first set was mostly movie themes: "Green Dolphin Street" (people forget it was a movie, after all) "Someday My Prince Will Come", a beautiful dark ballad I didn't recognize, before moving to a blues. Keith opened the concert with a big, billowy piano introduction, almost Chopin-ish, before moving into a beautifully swung performance. The band took "Prince" at a really hard, medium-slow tempo, and for most of Keith's solo, Jack kept a 2-beat brush pattern going, and was dropping little bombs through his pattern, turning a cute waltz into a pretzel of a tune. The ballad (can anyone who was there help me with the name) was gorgeous, with the band using a much more elastic time sense than I'm used to. Keith would lead into the bridge with almost a pregnant pause, with everyone landing in the bridge literally seconds behind where you'd expect it. At times it reminded me of how the Motion trio plays ballads.

The second set started with another ballad I didn't recognize, before moving into "Innocence", a Keith original from the European quartet days, which really surprised me. Keith proceeded to tear it up, taking on of the most virtuosic solos I've ever heard from him or possibly anyone else, rolling in, around and through the changes at lightspeed. He further surprised with his first encore, taking "When I Fall in Love", the warhorse of warhorses for this group, from the usual reverence the trio shows it and swinging it really hard, with Keith almost not stopping his solo for Gary to come in, then coming back after the bass solo swinging even harder.

Keith himself even seemed surprised with how the night went, saying after Innocence- "I can't say anything about this group that matches what you just heard." I can say that to their usual brilliance, they added the element of surprise, something I hope they'll keep in the book.


Mers said...

I was MASSIVELY pissed off at the people taking pictures at the end of the show. Seriously, the guys came back for two wonderful encores, and when they amazingly agreed to come for a third, some people stop respecting his wish. I can't understand why, and I believe he is right when he says "The magic isn't in something you buy". he was very nice to the audience yesterday, he even said, "this is a beautiful audience'. I was right on front row, and so I saw the guy who told him "We like you". That guy was turned down a picture by Jack frist, then Gary then finally keith. Way to get the picture there....(pun intended) Also, there was some smartass in the back that answered keith and pushed him over the edge, saying something about an email attachment. I really wish that guy understood how lucky he was to have witnessed such a special moment. it's not complicated to not take a picture, it really isn't. It was a beautiful concert. That trio is one of a kind.

Anonymous said...

I was there too and it was great. Especially the 2nd set. I really didn't know what happened as I was in the 1st balcony.

I would like to try and assemble a set list. You're right about When I Fall in Love - and Innocence - Wow!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your description very much.

Been a Jarrett fan for a long time.

I believe, without evidence, that there is more and more rudeness and oblivious behavior from audiences--who either can no longer tell the difference between a concert hall and their own living room, or somehow think they're part of the show--not as listeners, but as sound-makers themselves. There was a fight at a Pops concert a few years back. So Jarrett isn't always being hypersensitive. Also, if he doesn't demand good treatment, he won't have a chance of getting it.

I heard from another Berklee prof that this was an amazing show.

I don't mind that the trio isn't breaking new ground--just going deeper, maybe.

I like your writing.

caleb morgan