Alexander's Playlist: Keith Jarrett: Facing YouBy Alexander NeefPosted in Alexander Neef Playlist
General Director Alexander Neef shares his favourite music recordings in this series of weekly recommendations.
ECM Records, 1972
For this week’s playlist recommendation I wanted to offer something that speaks to a recurring theme in my listening and relationship to music: the realization that separations between genres and forms are not solid as they might appear to be.
The jazz pianist Keith Jarrett has been part of what I would call my piano-loving past and present for many years. I was lucky enough to see him with his trio at Carnegie Hall in New York, which remains one of the most special performances I’ve ever attended. Jarrett’s album, Facing You, is one of his very first. To me, it’s also one of his very best.
Hearing him play, I respond to something that’s connected to an earlier school of classical piano. The way that Jarrett so easily makes his hands independent of each other at the keyboard, the way he establishes a unique sound through the coordinated movement of asynchronous hands — this brings him into a tradition of piano playing that is more associated with artists like Ignaz Friedman, who I have spoken about in this series before.
That’s what I continue to carry with me and feel inspired by, that across genres and forms — in this case, classical and jazz — there are rich echoes and sometimes unacknowledged connections that reveal a wider horizon of artistry. Every note emerges with clarity and meaning in his interpretation. He’s truly the best Chopin pianist, even if this is your first time hearing him.
Music credit: Keith Jarrett: Facing You; ECM Records (Universal Music), 1972