Keith Jarrett / Jan Garbarek

Luminessence: Music for String Orchestra and Saxophone

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Keith Jarrett does not actually play on this CD; rather, he composed three angst-ridden pieces of varying lengths for string orchestra, over which Jan Garbarek improvises on tenor and soprano saxes. The concept is not unlike that of Stan Getz's Focus, but this music is far more static, downcast, and free of the pulse of jazz. As was characteristic of his writing then, Jarrett's string parts are mostly turgid and thick-set, indulging in weird, sliding microtones on "Windsong," weighted down by some kind of emotional burden. Particularly when delivering piercing sustained notes on soprano, Garbarek often sounds like a native of the Middle East. The strings are from the Stuttgart Radio Symphony, led by Mladen Gutesha, who faithfully executes Jarrett's dolorous wishes.

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