Keith Jarrett / Keith Jarrett Trio

Standards Live

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Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio spread their wings during live performance in as astute and dignified a manner as any group since the similarly sized Bill Evans ensembles of three decades prior. Bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette easily match the Evans bandmates Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian in terms of their telepathy, rhythmic savvy, harmonic ideas and supportive idealism. They propel Jarrett's advanced viewpoint in making well-known American popular songs all his own. While the incessant vocal whining of the leader in accord with his playing is an issue, the way he sensitively interprets a familiar song is not. The trio warms slowly as Jarrett's introduces "Stella by Starlight" with delicate precision, also keeping a cool head on Alec Wilder's "The Wrong Blues" with tempo in check. "Falling in Love with Love" hits third gear running, as Jarrett's fleet, lithe and flowing lines dismiss reckless abandon, and settles into a groove. A slight Latin hue on "Too Young to Go Steady" from the adept DeJohnette turns this composition to pure gold, while Jarrett does not hesitate getting right to the melody of "The Way You Look Tonight" because he knows and loves it all too well. DeJohnette is not only completely supportive, but undeniably is reinventing the jazz swing rhythm through this whole concert. A nice choice for a closer, Nat Adderley's soulful and spiritual "The Old Country" is tactfully portrayed, and because it is included on a record of standards, can be happily declared as official jazz orthodoxy. The trio is fairly concise, even for concert guidelines (nothing over 11 minutes), so the indulgence factor is virtually non-existent, and listenability is very high even for those who are challenged. Such stellar collective musicianship and their teamwork deems this recording worthy of any most recommended list.

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