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Keith Jarrett: The Man And His Music Paperback – 22 Mar 1992


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Product details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reprint edition (22 Mar. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306804786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306804786
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 339,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Ian Carr is the author of Music Outside and Miles Davis, and coauthor of Jazz: The Essential Companion. He plays trumput, flugelhorn, and keyboards with his band Nucleus, and has appeared on over twenty records, including his own, Old Heartland.

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First Sentence
Keith Jarrett was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on 8 May 1945, a day national rejoicing in America: VE Day, celebrating the end of the war with Germany. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Jan. 1999
Format: Paperback
Ian Carrs Biography of The life of Keith Jarrett is an informative book about one of the worlds greatest musical geniuses.But Im sorry to inform you that Keith Jarrett is not God,as Mr. Carr would have you to believe in this book.Keith Jarrett makes mistakes and has his flaws just like the rest of us but Mr. Carrs book seems more like a Keith Jarrett excuse portfolio rather than a biography.It also seems as if your reading the Keith Jarrett rolling stone issue because Mr.Carr feels as if it was necessary to extensively review all of Keith Jarretts major recordings:In my opinion to fill space.With all that is annoying with Mr.Carrs style of writing I reccomend this book to any Keith Jarrett fan or music lover who is any knowledge of Keith Jarrett.If you can get past Mr.Carrs fanatic approach to biography writing the details are interesting and informative.Since this is the only known biography of Keith Jarretts life its worth owning because YOU HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO CHOOSE FROM.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating Subject - Very Readable Book 1 Sept. 1999
By tjs001 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure why the review below is so negative. Actually, I have been re-discovering Keith Jarrett and, once this reviewer complained about the reviews in the book, I was sold! Just what I was looking for to help me sort through the huge back catalogue! Mr Carr has written this bio in the time-honoured fashion. He does not heap praise on Keith Jarrett's every recording. He reviews every disc (up to the end of the eighties) as one would expect from a biographer - we can't all see an artist live whenever we want to - most of us rely on these "records" of the artist's sound, style and progress or whatever. He gives examples of Jarrett's genius and of his to-be-expected-of-a-person-like-this idiosyncrasies and lets us make up our minds about the man. It's worth reading just for the incredible circumstances surrounding the "Solo Concerts" and "Koln Concert" recordings. Recommended. Hope he updates it in the future.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A Somewhat Shallow Biography Of The Great Pianist 5 Mar. 2004
By FePe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I agree with the first reviewer who writes that "the major problem inherent in books about musicians is that ultimately the only way to understand the artist's music is to listen to it." I see no reason why anyone would want to read this book without having listened to some of Jarrett's music. But those who have will likely be interested in this rather short biography by Ian Carr.
After a short foreword, we hear about Jarrett's childhood, his experiences with his piano teachers in particular and the stories surrounding his child prodigy. In chapter two, entitled 'From Allentown to Berklee and Boston', Ian Carr writes about the struggles to get out of the boring and dead town that Keith thought Allentown was into the more jazz-suited places like Berklee and Boston. Chapter three deals with his going to New York and playing with the Charles Lloyd Quartet, the first major turning point in his career, and the next chapter tells about his experiences on playing the Miles Davis. The following chapters is more about his own persuits where he doesn't have to play in an apprentice's role.
The book has only 195 pages, and that's too little to cover the story of a genius. The book quotes musicians from time to time and those quotations are much like a tv documentary without much depth. Actually the book could well be a tv documentary, because it reads like one - the story about his family relationship, his economic problems, a tour of his albums and so on. Although I have mostly critized the book, I want to recommend it to fans of Keith Jarrett. This is the only book about him, and though it's a little bit shallow, it provides a good picture and overview of his music and his personal life that fans would love to read about.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good Overview of Jarrett's Early Career 17 Jan. 2014
By David Lindsay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This biography comes with a cheesy title but if you are a fan it does provide useful information about "the man and his music." The writer Ian Carr was a British jazz musician who later became a music professor. The book was published in 1991 and is a little out of date. This book's chief virtue is that Carr, unlike many music critics, really understands music and he does a great job reviewing Jarrett's major albums. I enjoyed Carr's contributions to the Rough Guide to Jazz. He has great taste and any album he has recommended I usually enjoyed. Carr was a, man convinced of Jarrett's genius but for me such praise now seems overblown. Jarrett no longer seems quite the towering figure he did in the 1970s.

Carr writes about Jarrett's non-musical life, but unlike most jazz artists of the past, Jarrett hasn't had a particularly eventful life. Carr is also very polite and respectful, so this part of the book is a little dull. We learn that Jarrett came from a small town in Pennsylvania where nothing eventful ever happened and he left as soon as possible. By the time he was 21 he had become a star.

I discovered Jarrett in 1971 when somebody played me an album he recorded with Gary Burton. I was 14 and I became hooked on jazz for the next 10 years or so. Jarrett became one of my heroes and the Burton record also introduced me to jazz-rock. Carr describes the recording as a "very fine LP" and notes that it received 5 stars from Downbeat. Listened to today it sounds a little dated and tame. Sam Brown's tinny sounding electric guitar can't compete with what came later from John McLaughlin and Al DiMeola. Jarrett never recorded another album with Burton, who developed a partnership with Chick Corea.

During the 1970s Jarrett seemed able to play any style of music and was incredibly prolific. I have owned fifteen of his solo albums. However, his free jazz excursions for the Impulse label are tough to listen to today. His solo piano albums now seem a little self indulgent and it is hard to know how to evaluate the music. Carr believes that this is some of the best music recorded in the twentieth century, which now seems a ridiculous claim.

For me, jazz is a collaborative art form and Jarrett's best music was recorded when he worked with other talented people, like: Jan Garbarek, Kenny Wheeler, Charlie Haden, Dewey Redman, Gary Burton, Miles Davis, and Charles Lloyd. I still enjoy LPs like My Song, Arbour Zena, Luminessence, Belonging, The Survivor's Suite, and Expectations. All had other soloists and I particularly like the records he made with Garbarek.

Jarrett stopped working as a sideman after 1977. Carr describes a fraught recording with Kenny Wheeler when Jarrett couldn't relate to the music. He last worked with Garbarek in 1979 and the impression you get is that Jarrett perhaps started to believe that he was a genius and playing in a group setting was a little beneath him. Jarrett seemed to stop progressing as a jazz musician around this time. Jan Garbarek continued playing with different people and in my opinion has had a more substantial recording career. The same could be said of Eberhard Weber and Chick Corea.

The book interestingly describes a discussion Jarrett's wife had with a British musician during Keith's classical career. The Brit was thinking of giving it all up to become an accountant and Mrs Jarrett was shocked. My sister-in law is a classical soloist who has played with many orchestras and she told me 20 years ago that she wished she had become a lawyer. She had become bored with the music and the lifestyle didn't fit with a normal family life. Jarrett was a very lucky man and there are lots of unhappy classical musicians. Jarrett should have stuck to jazz.

Jarrett comes across as an enigma and something of a loner. He showed enormous promise in the 1970s but it has never been quite fulfilled. Looking back over his career it is tough to make the case for his musical genius. After about 1980 his musical choices became very conservative. I lost interest after he released The Celestial Hawk in 1980. It was his first major orchestral piece and was panned by the classical critics. I was never particularly interested in his standards trio or his attempts to prove that he was a great classical pianist. Jarrett now seems a less important figure than he did in the 1970s.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good writing, well-researched, but very outdated 20 May 2014
By Donswald - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The fact is simply that this book is twenty years old, and Jarrett has remained active the entire time since its publication. His career has continued to evolve and he has continued to release mammoth works which redefine Jarrett as an artist.

The book is very well-written, informative and entertaining, I can only hope that the author will release a significantly updated version, or that some other ambitious author will take up Ian Carr's mantel.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A good read 29 Aug. 2007
By S J Buck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This absorbing biography of Keith Jarrett was written 15 years ago, so theres a large chunk of his career (and illness) missing. But its the best biography of Jarrett available.

The reason it doesn't get 5 stars is that Carr over-praises Jarretts work in places. Yes Jarrett is one of the greats but not everything he's done is as magical as Carr would sometimes have you believe.

Don't let that put you off though, there's a lot of interesting interviews, and information about particular recordings that I found facsinating in this book. The author Ian Carr, is a Jazz musician himself and he writes with authority on his subject.
Perhaps one day he will update this volumn with the last 15 years of Jarretts career.
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