Keith Jarrett

Facing You

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Facing You is one of the most important recordings in contemporary jazz for several reasons, aside from being beautifully conceived and executed by pianist Keith Jarrett. It is a hallmark recording of solo piano in any discipline, a signature piece in the early ECM label discography, a distinct departure from mainstream jazz, a breakthrough for Jarrett, and a studio prelude for his most famous solo project to follow, The Köln Concert. Often meditative, richly melodic, inventive, and introspective beyond compare, Jarrett expresses his soul in tailored tones that set standards for not only this kind of jazz, but music that would serve him and his fans in good stead onward. In this program of all originals, which sound spontaneously improvised with certain pretexts and motifs as springboards, the rhapsodic "Ritooria," 4/4 love/spirit song "Lalene," and song for family and life "My Lady; My Child" firmly establish Jarrett's heartfelt and thoughtful approach. "Vapallia" cements the thematic, seemingly effortless, lighter -- but never tame -- aesthetic. "Starbright" is an easy-paced two-step tune signifying fully Jarrett's personalized stance. Straddling a more jagged, angular, and free edge, the pianist evokes the influence of Paul Bley during "Semblence" (sic). But it is the opening selection, an extended ten-minute opus titled "In Front," that truly showcases Jarrett at his playful best -- a timeless, modal, direct, and bright delight. A remarkable effort that reveals more and more with each listen, this recording has stood the test of time, and is unquestionably a Top Three recording in Keith Jarrett's long and storied career.

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