Keith Jarrett / Keith Jarrett Quartet

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It is very much out of character for the prolific Keith Jarrett and his producer Manfred Eicher to hold anything back, yet they've done it here, releasing these live tapes of Jarrett's European quartet ten years after they were recorded. Presumably, they did it in order not to distract attention from Nude Ants, which was recorded a week after these concerts, but that never stopped them before from just piling on more discs. In any case, these Tokyo recordings were too good to hide; the quartet had reached an interactive creative high around this time, often burning at the rarified level that Nude Ants reached. Jarrett is both lyrically effusive and able to ignite his European colleagues into giving him more swinging support than on earlier sessions. In particular, the title track has a lot of the exploratory fervor of "New Dance" from Nude Ants, and "Late Night Willie" gets down deep into the Jarrett gospel feeling. Jan Garbarek is especially forthright in Tokyo on tenor, while his soprano pierces like a beam of sunlight, and Palle Danielsson (bass) and Jon Christensen (drums) are loose, relaxed, and impeccably recorded. Clearly this is one of the peaks of the European quartet's discography.

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