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The Survivor's Suite


Price: 11.56 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Over the past 40 years, Keith Jarrett has come to be recognized as one of the most creative musicians of our times - universally acclaimed as an improviser of unsurpassed genius; a master of jazz piano; a classical keyboardist of great depth; and as a composer who has written hundreds of pieces for his various jazz groups, plus extended works for orchestra, soloist, and chamber ... Read more in Amazon's Keith Jarrett Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (24 Nov 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM
  • ASIN: B0000261LI
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,706 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Beginning - Keith Jarrett - Keith Jarrett
2. Conclusion - Keith Jarrett - Keith Jarrett

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gavin Wilson on 17 Feb 2004
Format: Audio CD
In my CD collection, I have many from the 70s and 80s whose qualities diminish each time I pull them out for another spin. ("What on earth did I see in that one??" is a familiar lament.)
Not the SURVIVOR'S SUITE. I must have played it a thousand times over the years, and each time I hear new things in this outstanding album. It's the usual purchase history: taped it off a friend at uni in 1977, persuaded my brother to buy it on LP in the vac, bought my own copy of the CD in the 80s, still waiting for ECM to reissue on SACD (or at least remastered) in the 00s.
Not for nothing was this voted the Medlody Maker's Jazz Album of the Year in 1977.
I just finished playing it again today, and my area of intrigue is another tiny detail: was it over-dubbed? This would be unusual for a Jarrett album, but there are passages where Jarrett appears to be playing both soprano sax and bass recorder. (And you thought this was going to be just another piano album?!)
The extraordinary thing about this album -- which has always been in my all-time Top Ten -- is that there are passages which I regard as almost unlistenable. But those noisy, free-jazz sections serve only to accentuate the total beauty of the quiet pieces which follow them.
There is so much going on in this album. There's more than a hint of world music. Paul Motian's drum-playing is extraordinary, and a source of inspiration for anyone worried that their creativity might dry up in the forties. Haden's bass is fantastic -- utterly dependable whenever Jarrett needs to swing, yet rich in emotion when required to perform a solo or the closing coda of each track. Redman, though primarily a saxophone player, actually gets to play more percussion than sax on this album.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr P VINE VOICE on 1 Aug 2002
Format: Audio CD
Recorded in 1977 with Jarretts classic group with Dewey Redman on Tenor, Charlie Haden on Bass and Paul Motian on Drums. The Survors Suite is basically one piece of music: Beginning/Conclusion.
The maintheme is so haunting with Jarrett on soprano sax alongside Redman before moving to piano. Redman then proceeds to remind everyone what a brilliant sax player he is. It is intense, passionate and beautiful music.
Conclusion starts off with a rumbustious passage again featuring some impassioned honking and wailing from the remarkable Redman. Motian then cuts loose before Jarrett wades in with some exquisite ivory tinkling. There is some more soprano sax and bass recorder before the main theme returns interspersed with the theme from the start of Conclusion. It is just an incredible musical journey.
This group made several fine albums in the 70s but this one and Death Of A Flower are the pick of an excellent crop. Buy now.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By beck@eircom.net on 9 Nov 2000
Format: Audio CD
This studio recording of Jarretts 'American' quartet from the mid seventies is a remarkable piece of work. It is that particualar groups most focused effort. After the moody and percussive intro of 'Begining' the melody of the saxes and flutes strong and confident. The highlight of this track is Haden's bass solo accompanied by Jarrrets chimes. The bass is precice and powerful. Pure wood. Track two 'Conclusion' opens with the whole band flailing like crazy around Paul Motians beats and Dewey Redman's chainsawlike firebrand sax. Jazz and Grunge if you like. It steadies out after this in a nice ride down from the mountain. Probably my favourite Keith Jarrett album and I have them all. ALAN MURRAY
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Martin Williams on 29 Dec 2011
Format: Audio CD
With it's cryptic title and eerie front cover photograph, you know you are in for a mysterious, musical treat and this album does not disappoint! As a drummer, I realise that playing at the limits of structure is very difficult, but creates an unsettling tension which makes for worthwhile listening. This is true of all the players and is probably Jarrett's greatest contribution to Jazz, whether it's just him playing shedloads of solo piano (The superb 'Koln Concert' etc etc) or in groups, as is the case here. However, the atmospheric, imaginative, emotional quality is equally important and this is one of his best efforts in this respect.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Transcendent 17 Feb 2004
By Gavin Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
In my CD collection, I have many from the 70s and 80s whose qualities diminish each time I pull them out for another spin. ("What on earth did I see in that one??" is a familiar lament.)
Not the SURVIVOR'S SUITE. I must have played it a thousand times over the years, and each time I hear new things in this outstanding album. It's the usual purchase history: taped it off a friend at uni in 1977, persuaded my brother to buy it on LP in the vac, bought my own copy of the CD in the 80s, still waiting for ECM to reissue on SACD (or at least remastered) in the 00s.
Not for nothing was this voted the Melody Maker's Jazz Album of the Year in 1977.
I just finished playing it again today, and my area of intrigue is another tiny detail: was it over-dubbed? This would be unusual for a Jarrett album, but there are passages where Jarrett appears to be playing both soprano sax and bass recorder. (And you thought this was going to be just another piano album?!)
The extraordinary thing about this album -- which has always been in my all-time Top Ten -- is that there are passages which I regard as almost unlistenable. But those noisy, free-jazz sections serve only to accentuate the total beauty of the quiet pieces which follow them.
There is so much going on in this album. There's more than a hint of world music. Paul Motian's drum-playing is extraordinary, and a source of inspiration for anyone worried that their creativity might dry up in the forties. Haden's bass is fantastic -- utterly dependable whenever Jarrett needs to swing, yet rich in emotion when required to perform a solo or the closing coda of each track. Redman, though primarily a saxophone player, actually gets to play more percussion than sax on this album. Jarrett's piano -- particularly those long right-hand runs -- has never been better, but here he experiments with several other instruments -- soprano sax, osi drums (whatever they are), celeste and bass recorder.
This is the album that got me into jazz. It takes time to get into. My recommendation is to start by listening repeatedly to the rest of track #2 after Motian's drum solo.
Once 'into' this album, you will treasure it for life. I've known it for 27 years, and it never palls.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding 12 Nov 2000
By Gavin Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Keith Jarrett has recorded many fine albums, but this is simply the finest jazz record I know. It takes some getting into, but many people start with the beautiful piano run that starts at about 4:30 in Part 2. (This album has just two tracks, which may make it seem daunting.)
Jarrett worked with two quartets in the mid-70s: a European one with Jan Garbarek on sax, and this, the American one, with Charlie Haden on bass and Dewey Redman on sax. The differences between the two are enormous, but both produced wonderful albums.
On this, released after the US quartet had broken up, Jarrett experiments with the bass recorder and celeste, to entrancing, mystical effect. It seems ridiculous to suggest it, but could Jarrett have been trying to ape (purely in marketing terms) Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells' by way of his multi-instrumentalism and two-tracks-to-an-album structure?
That is sheer whimsy. What is not in doubt is that from the moment you start getting into this album, you have before you many years of listening pleasure. If you like any sort of intelligent music and can cope with the occasionally raucous sax, you will love this album. Charlie Haden's bass coda at the end of each track are alone worth the price of the CD. Magnificent!
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
A Masterpiece... 12 July 2002
By A. Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It is a personal requirement that I listen to this recording at least once a month. This music takes me to places I have never been before and I always return with a refreshed point of view. Jarratt & company explore the full range of human emotions on this beautiful masterpiece. From a soft and tender relaxing vibe to a full blown controlled rage, this music parallels the experience of life - its'ups and downs and ebbs and flows. It is something to experience often. The long winding suite starts out slow, builds to a boil and then mellows out before exploding into what can only be described as an emotional storm. When the music final ends, you have been through an emotional roller-coaster. I have over 25 Jarratt recordings in my collection and each one offers a diverse and unique listening experience, but this one goes to the proverbial desert island with me along with Wayne Shorter's "Native Dancer" and Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue. This recording is appropriately titled "Survivors Suite," because if you "get it" you will be completely exhaused after you "survive it" - but you will have a big smile on your face when you finish. After almost 25 years, this music is still fresh and exciting. Thanks for the experience Keith. Peace!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A little different 15 April 2005
By G B - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This album is the best-known of the dozen or so recorded by Keith Jarrett's American Quartet, probably due to the fact that it appears on the same label as his most popular work (ECM). Though the group was often supplemented by one or two percussionists, only the group's core of Jarrett, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden and Paul Motian appears here. It was recorded near the end of the group's 6 year life, and is arguably the last great album the group recorded. (They'd go on to record Bop Be and Byablue for Impulse, and the disappointing Eyes of the Heart for ECM.)

It's also, without a doubt, the most compositionally ambitious and dense album Jarrett made with this lineup. It's different in tone than their other albums -- there isn't too much of the free-wheeling looseness, funky gospel roots, vibrant swing, or general sense of fun that characterizes those recordings. Other elements of the group's sound appear here -- cascading rubato ballads (two of them on "Beginning"), the world-music-flavored collective improvisation that opens the album, free jazz (the first few minutes of "Conclusion"), and interplay between Redman's tenor and Jarrett's soprano saxophones. The suite even recycles a theme from an earlier album ("Great Bird", from Death and the Flower), though it's given a very different reading here. These elements might surprise someone who comes in expecting the Jarrett of the European Quartet, the Standards Trio or the marathon solo concerts.

As far as the performances, Dewey Redman is superb here. He gets four or five excellent solos, and his intense wailing over the rumbling rhythm section in the last few minutes is my favorite part of the album. Listening to his playing here reminds me what a great saxophonist he is -- Amazon's description of the "Texas-blues yearning that's as wide and long as the Lone Star state" is perfect. I think Jarrett has better performances on piano elsewhere, and with one small exception the Haden-Motian tandem never manages to cut loose like they do on other albums. Also, very annoyingly, Jarrett overdubbed a breathy bass recorder bit all over the album.

I don't think this is the group's best album -- it doesn't reach the peaks of their best work on Impulse, and I'd personally rather listen to Fort Yawuh, Mysteries or Backhand. (For a bite-sized sample of the Impulse work, check out Fort Yawuh. Otherwise spring for the two box sets that include all the group's work.) On the other hand, if you like Jarrett's more "serious" work on ECM then you might actually prefer the Survivor's Suite. Either way, it's definitely worth picking up and enjoying.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Intense, yet accessible.... 5 Sep 2000
By Asanka Perera - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I don't know why, but I have listened to this recording more than any other jazz records I own. It is not only the way in which Jarrett and other musicians build up the musical tension and release it that pulls me in for repeated listening, but it is the passion they put into their playing, chorus after chorus. It may also be that I "hear" a whole spectrum of human feelings which I cannot accurately find words for. (like in Cecil Taylor's or Mingus's music). Jarrett's Bass Recorder and Haden's Acoustic Bass sets the hypnotic mood in the opening, and the music burns slowly from a flicker to a smouldering fire. Each musicians play with great sensitivity and depth, even in the "free" sections. And Jarrett's piano solos are to die for ! It is a pity that the CD version is hard to get. Go grab the vinyl (with its tasteful ECM sound)and reward yourself with a soundscape you will never forget.
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