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This solo concert by Keith Jarrett, recorded live in South America in April, 2011, comes 40 years after his first solo album for ECM. The Rio de Janeiro concert is, the pianist feels, one of his best: "beautifully structured, jazzy, serious, sweet, playful, warm, economical, energetic, passionate, and connected with the Brazilian culture in a unique way. The sound in the hall was excellent and so was the enthusiastic audience."
Jarrett's solo recordings are a 'tradition' of their own, yet each is unique in itself, a special event. The great pianist had played in Brazil only once before - back in the 1980s and felt that he had 'unfinished business' there. On this occasion the music that emerges, entirely improvised, shares with some of Jarrett's best-loved albums (think of The Köln Concert) an intensely lyrical core. Jarrett's capacity for creating song forms and compositional structures in the moment is unparalleled, as is clearly heard over Rio's 15 short tracks.
The release of 'Rio' coincides with Keith Jarrett's 40th anniversary as an ECM recording artist. It was in November 1971 that the pianist and producer Manfred Eicher first collaborated - on the epochal and hugely influential solo piano album 'Facing You'. Jarrett's rich and rewarding solo piano catalogue on ECM have brought forth some remarkable recordings over four decades and 'Rio' is a stunning addition to them.
"Rio is a masterpiece, a jazz recording of such creativity that it is impossible to absorb the enormity of its achievement in one, two or even three auditions." - Jazzwise
Personnel: Keith Jarrett (piano)
Since he recorded the Köln Concert in 1975, Keith Jarrett’s solo recitals have come a long way. Back then, a single piece often lasted over 25 minutes, and the audience had to follow every twist and turn of Jarrett’s spur-of-the-moment improvising without coming up for air. Yet this long form neatly contained the full scope of Jarrett’s playing, from atonality to country-ish or gospel-tinged melodies, and from a gentle rhythmic lilt to hard-edged swing.
More recently, from the time of Radiance, recorded in Japan in 2002, Jarrett has separated the ingredients into bite-sized chunks. With an audience as ecstatic as the one at the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, where his new album was cut in April 2011, this works to the advantage of both. Jarrett builds a rapport with his public, and they can more easily adapt to the changes of mood and genre as his ideas develop.
From a brittle opening that nods in the direction of such classical composers as George Antheil and Krzysztof Penderecki, Jarrett gradually works into his stride. The fourth fragment is a delightful lyrical ballad that keeps suggesting you’ve heard it somewhere before (except that you haven’t) and this leads directly into a propulsive, jazzy fifth section that is the climax of the first set.
The second set (and second CD of the boxed pair) is vintage Jarrett, developing ideas that go right back to his first trio recordings, and which defined him as a pianist. There’s the lilting Latin 6/8 of part eight, contrasting with the shimmering treble ornament of the following section. A brisk foray into atonal expressionism is followed by romping swing, leading to another tender ballad movement.
The final three sections have the perfect balance between compositional form and spontaneity, with the penultimate bluesy movement the standout. Maybe there were his usual strictures against coughers and photographers, but if they happened, they didn’t get in the way of Jarrett’s rapport with his audience. Overlooking an above average content of the pianist’s characteristic wheezes and groans, you get the sense that — like someone in the crowd at his last London solo concert — they’re all prepared to shout, "We love you, Keith!"
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This double CD live recording may be to some fans' taste but I found it to be somewhat uneven in quality. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amit Mozoomdar
I just can't stop playing it. Can't understand why some have given less than 5 stars! Such staggering creativeness!!! As good as anything he's done before.Published on 16 Aug. 2012 by Wavey Dave
After a cacophonous first track, the rest follows in the style we have come to expect. I liked it a lot.Published on 14 Feb. 2012 by R. S. Mathews
Bought this for my husband and he was delighted with it. It was a mix of the more "avant-garde" which is Jarrett's trademark, and the more "accessable", as I would put it!!Published on 11 Jan. 2012 by walker wife
Outstanding piece of art ! Lyrical manoeuvers along with rythmical, yet passionate, musical pieces. Put it next to the "Koln concert", the "La Scala" and the "Paris-London" works. Read morePublished on 6 Jan. 2012 by Constantine Kyriazis
On one listening, I find RIO a little disappointing and I'm a BIG fan of Keith Jarrett. I put it into my iTunes Library and the first thing I did was edit off all the final... Read morePublished on 26 Dec. 2011 by JOHN C. WESLEY-BARKER
Keith Jarrett has been making albums since the mid-sixties and is perhaps best known for his improvisational solo concerts in Köln, Bremen, Lausanne, Vienna and other cities. Read morePublished on 26 Dec. 2011 by Douglas
I like most of Keith Jarretts work But this one is like Marmite "you love it or hate it" listen before you buy !Published on 19 Dec. 2011 by Phil T