Keith Jarrett – Bordeaux Concert (2022)

Keith Jarrett - Bordeaux Concert (2022)
Artist: Keith Jarrett
Album: Bordeaux Concert
Label: ECM Records
Year Of Release: 2022
Format: FLAC (tracks+.cue)
01. Part I [12:46]
02. Part II [4:45]
03. Part III [4:34]
04. Part IV [7:48]
05. Part V [6:17]
06. Part VI [4:24]
07. Part VII [7:29]
08. Part VIII [5:49]
09. Part IX [4:40]
10. Part X [2:55]
11. Part XI [6:09]
12. Part XII [5:35]
13. Part XIII [4:32]


Pianist Keith Jarrett suffered a massive stroke in February 2018, leaving him unable to play the piano. This date, recorded at Auditorium de l’Opéra National de Bordeaux on July 6, 2016, is his final French concert. It is the second release from his last European tour, following Munich 2016 (released in 2019) and The Budapest Concert (2020). All three showcase the improvising musician at a creative peak. The performance has been divided into 13 sections with natural breaks.

“I” commences with an abrupt phrase that fades behind pedaled low notes. Jarrett is assertive, playing percussively distinct yet rapid single notes and shapes, while establishing a circular rhythm. He stops abruptly after six minutes and begins layering thick chords atop a jagged tempo. Eventually, single notes from the high register return to replace chords. Jarrett has given the audience a gift by jumping into the deep end first. “II” reveals the pianist at his most lyrical after a feinted intro partially deceives the listener. He adds another surprise just under four minutes as he slides into a minor-tinged walking left-hand rhythm that fades into a single note. “IV” is spectral and inquisitive throughout, though its first half offers effusive ostinati and illustrative arpeggios that recall Franz Liszt before Jarrett strips them down into syncopated lyric jazz articulated by ghostly chord voicings. The interlocking pulses, notes, and chords in “V” recall Cecil Taylor at his most investigative, though Jarrett cannot help but contribute a more detailed harmonic sensibility, even as he extrapolates, transposing root melodic chords into rhythmic pulses. “VII” is worth the price of admission by itself. Jarrett has loved folk and classical traditions throughout his life (for proof of the former, check 1987’s classic Spirits). In this section he channels both in one of the most poignant ballad improvisations of his long career. He follows it with “VIII” – a mutant, stride boogie woogie piece that references Pete Johnson, Meade “Lux” Lewis, and Money Jungle-era Duke Ellington almost simultaneously. “X” sounds like a circular classical minuet filtered through gospel and played by Steve Reich. It is startling and delightful. The closing section is unsettlingly funereal. Its elegiac dirge is offered with spacious frames for each chord and note, it emerges in stages as Jarrett begins a scalar inquiry at around two minutes, then explores the margins, humming along under the notes as they falter, rumble, and whisper forward. It leaves only open questions at its conclusion.

The Bordeaux Concert is not for the Jarrett beginner, but for seasoned fans of his many solo recordings, that are, after all, responsible for a sizeable portion of his legendary reputation. The dialogue he engages in with the piano here challenges its own assertions with an unassuming, even reverential authority. This is not only masterful, it soulful, interrogatory, and virtuosic.
by Thom Jurek

5/5 - (1 vote)

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