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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly brilliant, 17 Feb 2004
By 
Gavin Wilson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Survivor's Suite (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. 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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense, passionate and beautiful, 1 Aug 2002
By 
Mr P "radletteer" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Survivor's Suite (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
5.0 out of 5 stars survivours sweet!, 9 Nov 2000
By 
This review is from: The Survivor's Suite (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Who are the 'Survivors'?, 29 Dec 2011
This review is from: The Survivor's Suite (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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