Keith Jarrett is usually at the very top of his game in solo performances, in spite of his occasionally odd mannerisms on-stage. This 1987 concert at Suntory Hall in Tokyo is a wide-ranging program, in which Jarrett has the audience in the palms of his hands from the very beginning. How many pianists can capture the lyricism within "The Night We Called It a Day," then dig into a blues such as "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," offer an impressionistic arrangement of "I Loves You, Porgy," followed by a hard-charging post-bop take of "(There Is) No Greater Love"? Jarrett eschews the typically overly dramatic improvised introduction to "'Round Midnight," instead setting it up like any ballad, before putting his own melancholy stamp on Thelonious Monk's greatest work. The audio portion of this concert DVD is impeccable, while the video portion is generally excellent, except for a few too many long shots from the side of the stage and some weird shots like focusing just on Jarrett's head and shoulder at the beginning of "Solar." Fortunately, Jarrett keeps his distracting vocalizing to a minimum, while one gets used to his contorted body movements and grimaces with time. This concert DVD is an excellent starting point for those who might just be starting to investigate the work of Jarrett, though his fans will want to snap up this release without hesitation.
Solo Tribute Review
by Ken Dryden