We find Jarrett here with his European quartet, probably a more melodic and restrained unit than his previous American band. Nonetheless it is an album of exquisite playing from all concerned.
The opening Questar is a strong mid-tempo piece with Garbarek's tenor providing a most suitable, subtly-nuanced voice. The following My Song, a balad, is just one of those haunting melodies that gets you. The Norwegian horn player states the theme with beautiful tone and phrasing. Jarrett then plays a short, memorable unaccompanied passage before the band comes back with the melody.
Tabarka is a stunner. Keening Gabarek sax in near unison with Jarrett's piano state the tune fairly briefly before they begin to meander around the theme as if they have played together since birth. Jarrett then opens out into a typical turn, of cascading notes that are so full of expression and passion. Then Garbarek re-enters magnetically and the song gets looser and looser as the sax seeks out a culmination before it floats back gently to the main theme.
The next track, Country, is again one of those melodies you want to whistle along with. Garbarek sets it out and Jarrett meanders around it. Danielsson then shines as his bass leads Jarrett along with aplomb before the leader takes dominance. A sunny day out in a grassy meadow next to a river, with a breeze in the trees.
Just in case it gets too restrained and melodic, Mandala breaks up the album completely with a strident bit of be-bop. Melody goes out the window as Jarrett plays some real hell-for-leather piano before Gabarek chimes in on some wailing and coruscating soprano. The rhythm section are with them all the way as it gets into a brief Coltranish passage before it slows down and takes some deep breaths. This track is not so immediately appealing as the others but is worth the effort as it will soon wins an equal place in the heart.
The closing Journey Home goes back to the earlier tone of things and again is a haunting, longing melody eloquently stated by the tenor sax. It then increases tempo and has other little themes as the piano leads over a strong bass and percussion pulse before Garbarek once again plays with terrific passion. Some six minutes in it all slows down to a wistful new twist to the composition. Jarrett tinkles wonderfully over some exceedingly laid back bass and drums before the sax re-joins. The piece closes out in this slow mode at journeys end. And a fine journey it was.