Author Archives: Olivier Bruchez

“J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I” (concert recording) to be released in June 2019

According to an article on HMV & Books (in Japanese), ECM will release J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I in May 2019. This is a live recording of BWV 846-869, recorded on March 7, 1987 at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in New York, not to be confused with Das wohltemperierte Klavier, Buch I, a studio recording released in 1988.

"J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I" cover
“J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I” cover

HMV lists the album with a release date of May 20, 2019 [This is apparently incorrect, see below.]. A UHQCD (Ultimate High Quality Compact Disc) version of the album will be released in Japan on June 19, 2019. It will consist of 2 CDs, each with 24 preludes and fugues (BWV 846-857 on CD 1 and BWV 858-869 on CD2).

Thanks to “tgwhrk” for the information.

Update (May 8, 2019). J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I is now listed on many online stores. Challenge Records, for example, offers more information and sound excerpts. The correct release date appears to be June 14, 2019, not May 20, 2019.

These are performances in which tempos, phrasing, articulation and the execution of ornaments are convincing,” wrote Gramophone of Jarrett’s first recorded account of The Well-Tempered Clavier. “Both instrument and performer serve as unobtrusive media through which the music emerges without enhancement.” In this live recording from Troy, New York, made in March 1987, just one month after his studio recording of the work, Keith Jarrett addresses the challenges of Bach’s great set of preludes and fugues once more. Part of the goal is transparency, to bring the listener closer to the composer. As Jarrett explained at the time: “The very direction of the lines, the moving lines of notes, are inherently expressive…When I play Bach, I hear almost the process of thought. Any colouration has nothing to do with this process.

Thanks to Boris for the link.

New solo album, “La Fenice”, to be released on October 19, 2018

ECM Records will release a new solo album, La Fenice, on October 19, 2018.

"La Fenice" cover

“La Fenice” cover

Here’s the complete press release:

“This double album, long anticipated, presents Keith Jarrett’s concert at the Gran Teatro La
Fenice in Venice, from July 2006. The setting – one of Italy’s most famous classical venues –
may evoke some parallels with La Scala, the pianist’s much-loved 1995 recording, but each
of Jarrett’s solo performances is its own world, his protean creativity continually bringing
new forms to light. La Fenice (the phoenix) finds him channelling the flow of inspiration into
a suite of eight spontaneously created pieces referencing everything from the blues to
atonality. From the first flurry of notes, it is a consistently captivating journey. Between Part
VI and Part VII, Jarrett surprisingly but very touchingly segues into “The Sun Whose Rays”,
from Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera The Mikado.

Encores are the traditional tune “My Wild Irish Rose” (previously recorded by Jarrett on The
Melody At Night With You), the timeless standard “Stella By Starlight”, which the trio with
Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette often played (see for instance the albums Standards Live
and Yesterdays). The concert ends with a tender version of Keith’s tune “Blossom”, first
heard on the Belonging album with Jan Garbarek, Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen back
in 1974.

La Fenice could be considered the culmination point of a series of solo concerts that began
the previous September with the The Carnegie Hall Concert. Reviewing that performance,
Fred Kaplan of The Absolute Sound wrote: “His concert pieces, all pure improvisations, are
models of economy, themes stated, explored, varied on, departed from, returned to, done –
and gripping from start to finish. The encores were similarly taut – and lyrical and gorgeous.”

Release of the Venice concert is timely. The 62nd International Festival of Contemporary
Music of the Biennale di Venezia has honoured Keith Jarrett with its Golden Lion for
Lifetime Achievement. It’s the first time that a “jazz” musician has received this award,
which has previously been given to contemporary composers including, in recent decades,
Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, György Kurtág, Helmut Lachenmann, Sofia Gubaidulina and
Steve Reich. Of course, there is more than one way to be a contemporary composer, as Keith
Jarrett eloquently illustrates on La Fenice, shaping his musical structures in real time.”

The tracklist is as follows:

CD 1

  1. Part I (17:44)
  2. Part II (3:26)
  3. Part III (9:47)
  4. Part IV (7:15)
  5. Part V (6:36)

CD 2

  1. Part VI (13:32)
  2. The Sun Whose Rays (4:22)
  3. Part VII (5:30)
  4. Part VIII (7:15)
  5. My Wild Irish Rose (7:03)
  6. Stella By Starlight (6:33)
  7. Blossom (8:35)

Thanks to Ziad, Stephen, Jan, Heino, Matthias, and Christoph for sending me information about this release.

Update (September 22, 2018). “The Sun Whose Rays” is already available from streaming platforms such as Deezer or Spotify. Thanks to Gabriele for the link!

Solo performance in Venice on September 29, 2018 cancelled

According to La Biennale di Venezia:

“Due to recent health issues Keith Jarrett has cancelled all of his engagements for 2018.

29 September, Biennale Musica: there was enormous anticipation for the solo piano performance by Keith Jarrett, culminating in the awards ceremony for the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, but recent health issues required Keith Jarrett to cancel all of his engagements for 2018, starting with the concert at Carnegie Hall in New York scheduled on March 21st and including his announced solo performance in Venice on September 29th. This timeframe affecting the Maestro’s schedule for the year has imposed a change to our programme.”

La Repubblica (article in Italian) is also reporting on the cancellation.

Thanks to Jan and Vasco for the links.

I don’t have any additional information at the moment. Let’s hope that Keith will get better soon.