on 22 June 2001
I first heard this music in 1975 or so, at a friend's house. I bought the two-disc LP right away. The first five notes blew me away, with their utter simplicity. What Jarret builds up from them is absolutely astonishing. It's not "classical"; it's not "jazz"; it's not "fusion"; it's not "New Age". It's something so completely UNLIKE any other piano music that I have ever heard, that it transcends description. Its melodic structure plays on the outer edges of consciousness. It's as though you never heard a piano before. It's so unlike most piano music that one expects the author to be an alien from outer space.
Jarrett "plays" the piano on this recording with an intensity and originality that defies description.
on 10 May 2007
One cannot express in words the beauty of this music. It is utterly raw, coming straight from the heart, a work of sheer genius. Whilst many pieces of so-called piano jazz easily lend themselves to the background of an occasion, the Koln Concert demands constant attention; with all of its changes in tempo, key, style and melody, the listener is enticed into the music, eagerly awaiting the next delicate keystrokes. Indeed, rather than being required to glean the often precious-few moments of brilliance from much music, with Keith Jarrett at the piano, the listener finds these instances thrust upon them every few seconds!
If you concentrate on the music for just a minute, you will find melodies which would ordinarily be the core of a piece, but which in this situation are simply played fleetingly, only to be replaced by yet another gorgeous tune.
I highly recommend this music to absolutely anyone; you do not have to be a jazz-lover to appreciate it! Even if you have never listened to this genre before (I am still unsure as to what "this genre" actually is!!), I sincerely appeal to you to give it a go! I promise you won't be disappointed!
If you do decide to purchase this album, and enjoy it anywhere near as much as I have, may I also recommend the Sun Bear Concerts, the Paris Concert, and Live at Carnegie Hall for more of the same! Jarrett has also played in a jazz trio, with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, and their music is also excellent. Other jazz pianists who I have found to have a similar touch include; Brad Mehldau, Bill Evans and Michael Wollny, although their music tends not to be improvised.
on 5 October 2011
I'm seldom given to hyperbole but this is truly the most beautiful music I've ever heard. The first movement left me breathless with admiration, the last almost moved me to tears. Yet oddly I came across it through an article by Mel Nichols, in a classic car magazine. He used the Concert to describe his emotions driving a carefully honed sports car in a way that made the music and drive come to life. Mel is always a good writer, but the poetry in this small column, was magical.
This is how his story about the drive began..
' Keith Jarrett is a pianist. One of his best albums is called the Koln Concert. There's just him, alone on stage. He begins playing, building his melody from a few notes. They are sweet, enchanting. He starts to move along expanding into one riff and then another, all linked, and all built up from those first few notes. And what notes they are! Clear and ringing, each pregnant with beauty. And his timing! He climbs, almost tentatively, almost feeling his way, and then, after the merest and most perfect hesitation, tumbles into long exquisite runs. He goes on building and building until, about halfway through the first side of the first record, everything that has gone before is coordinated into music of such pendulum-rhythm, of such melody and delicacy and yet such decisiveness and control, that its beauty engulfs you. And the flow of it is such, as it sweeps you along that- like Jarrett himself-you have to cry out for joy.
And that's how it was, in the Kremer Porsche. In a series of bends, on a quiet afternoon, somewhere deep in Somerset.'
So thanks Mel for introducing me to this album, and for the poetry of your writing, and thanks to the editor of Classic and Sportscar for having the sensitivity to publish it.
I'd recommend this music to anyone knowing that they won't be disappointed. Its utterly stunning.
There are already so many reviews of this fantastic (literally) album that my contribution is really unnecessary. However this is such an amazing album that I felt that I needed to add support to the previous comments. On any grading system this deserves more than five stars. In some ways its sheer perfection make this beyond grade or criticism.
I have had a copy of this music for many years and find it so totally absorbing to listen too.
Because it is improvised music of such sensitivity and beauty it is incomparable. By some definitions, this is jazz, but it is truly beyond category. A concert of this quality is not just "once in a lifetime" it is a truly unique occasion.
I have other Keith Jarrett albums and none come close to this in quality.
Every lover of music, of whatever genre, should have a copy of this album. It should be given to every "Desert Island Discs" castaway along with the Bible. I'm taking my copy too! Then I'll have two copies!
Keith Jarrett's 'The Koln Concert' was one of those albums that I have always been aware of, since it was first released back in the mid-1970s. I was put off buying it, because I thought it would be impenetrable Jazz noodling. However, a couple of years ago, the broadcaster Paul Gambaccini did a BBC Radio 4 documentary on the recording in his 'One Night Only' series on historic in-concert recordings, which I found very illuminating, and revived my interest in wanting to hear the album. I decided to purchase the vinyl reissue version, and I am so glad that I did. It's not a 'Jazz' recording per se; in truth, it doesn't fit any tidy genre pigeonhole. It's simply a beguling, wonderfully immersive outpouring of creativity from a supremely gifted musician, at a real peak of his musical powers. In four side-long tracks, the quality of the piano recording is wonderful, and the microphone picks up Jarrett's exclamations of joy at what he's creating. Great Record
on 4 May 2014
It's not often that I'm lost for words, but this album has done it for me.
I learnt to play classical piano as a kid, and shortly after started improvising too, and that's probably why I love this concert.
Jarrett does things with this instrument that are both extraordinary and exquisite.
He fuses styles and genres with effortless ease, to create something truly unique.
Other soloists have come along since, and you can see echoes of his works in their creations.
And like all great musicians, he makes some complex themes sound disarmingly simple, if only...
I hope others new to his music give this one a go, and enjoy, well worth the time and investment.
on 13 February 2012
The Concert itself will be a matter of taste, I would not try to sell you it or waste another 400 words on meaningless adjectives about it. Love it or hate it, thats all down to you.
The vinyl pressing itself was my reason for purchase.
Dusting off an old turntable, a Rega that had not seen the amp since I went completely digital, my first few vinyl platters (that had seen better days.. but thats because I played them a lot), did not sound either lively or transparent... very little depth and generally a very unsatisfying experience.
This pressing ..well WOW .
Its the closest thing I have heard to hearing a CD for the first time.
on 20 April 2011
Many years since I fell in love with this, still has its magic touch. Almost classical in style but with the undercurrent of 20th Century modern jazz that carries you along on the beauty of good music of all types, Mozart or Jarrett. Every music-lover should have it in their collection.
on 9 October 2012
There is such beauty in the music on this CD that I struggle to find the words to do it justice. The flow of the music and the delicateness of touch exhibited must surely count among the classics of Jazz.
on 31 October 2011
A friend of mine BEGGED me to listen to this! Give it a chance he said, be patient, let it grow on you! Never have I been so thankful for that advice. This isn't just 'good' or even exceptional - it's the piano at it's best - in every sense. How a man can start playing a simple but delightful introduction and take it to such emotive crescendo then back - again and again is truly astonishing. Totally improvised, inimitable and never yet beaten. It is a journey through beauty, emotion and pleasure. The piano really is an extension of this man's soul. What would any of us give to be able to play like this? Not just the dexterity but the ability to talk, think, feel and express emotion through the piano - then share it unconditionally. Don't miss this one, please don't miss this one! Truly, truly wonderful.