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Inside Out Live
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Recorded at two extraordinary concerts in London's Royal Festival Hall in July 2000, Inside Out marks some exciting departures for the group known as The Standards Trio. In brief, this is the most extensive exploration of Jarrett originals since the 1987 recording, Changeless.
It may be a little misleading to credit Inside Out as a Keith Jarrett album, because the cover and CD spine list Jarrett, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette in equal type-size. However, the people who witnessed these July 2000 concerts in London's Royal Festival Hall were coming to see the pianist first and foremost, and it's fair to assume that CD purchasers will have a similar motivation. The contrast between Jarrett's playing here and with the1960s Charles Lloyd is striking. Way back then, he was a more fluent, more daring and more imaginative player. The music on Inside Out is like the representation of a man in intense dialogue with himself, while two other people provide intelligent and sympathetic commentary. This may well be sufficient a recommendation for Jarrett fans to immediately purchase this CD, and it would be foolish to argue that the music here is inferior to that of Lloyd's group. But it's very different, and there have been losses as well as gains. --Keith Shadwick
Top Customer Reviews
From the absolute classical Standards Vol.1 & 2 through all the various live concerts, I felt that Keith, Gary and Jack had "done" the standards thing almost to death, and this, coupled with Jarrett's bout of ME had made most recent offerings (Whisper Not) not a patch on where this all began......until Inside Out!!!......
This recording is frustrating!!!!............it is frustrating for one main reason!....it was taken from a concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London last year that both I and my friend had decided to snub for the aforementioned reasons. Had this been one of Keith's solo concerts we wouldn't have hesitated going but we felt that we'd had our fill of the standards thang....so to speak.
This recording is however very different fare!!!!!...........as Keith explains in the liner notes, all three musicians wanted to explore completely improvised pieces without the "vehicle" of a standard tune, and this......despite the initially confused first track, they achieve impeccably. There are superb blues and jazz overtones in the wholly improvised pieces and some echo's of Jarrett's solo playing in some of them (I distinctly heard some of the Sun Bear Concerts in there!!)....if you liked the album "Changeless" then this takes it to another level!!!!!
This recording has renewed my faith in this trio and has confirmed that Jarrett's state of health must be improving.......even the one standard "When I Fall in Love" is a really good version.......I don't think I'll make the same mistake again!!!
The extracts vary in length from 7.23 to 21.13, the "average" track being longer rather than shorter (sorry mathematicians). There is one complete ballad performance "When I Fall In Love" (7.25) to finish the album.
If you have doubts about free form performances, try to overcome them. This is beautiful, emotional music much based upon "the blues" as a framework, but that is a far too simplistic description of something very much more complex.
Few musicians could pull this off; Jarrett, Peacock and De Johnette do so.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Keith's "total improvization" (e.g. 'Koln Concerts' or 'Vieena Concerts') is different from "free improvization" of avan-jazzers. While free-jazzers often stick to 'atonal improvization' most of the time, Keith prefers (and can do) 'tonal improvization'. That means Keith pays respect to more conventional song forms and chord changes. Thus, his improvization is actually instant composing like that of J.S. Bach: he can write a melody.
Melody is the the most important element of music that often a lot avan-jazzers as well as non-avan-jazzers forget.
I am not saying that all avan-jazzers cannot creat a melody: listen the phrases of Ornett Coleman, Eric Dolphy or free-jazz period Gato Barbieri...their distinctive phrasing sings storys...thus these abstract phrases for me are melodies.
But still Keith is the only one who actually can compose a song simultaneously on stage show after show...if you need proof of this statement, listen to his solo piano impriovizations.
In this album, Keith, Gary and Jack expanded the notion of 'total improvization' to trio-performance level. Yes, they have done similar things before: albums like "Changes," "Changeless" or the thought provoking song dedicated to the master "For Miles." They have already succeeded in carrying out 'trio total improvization' or in Keith's word 'trio-jazz' prior to this album.
Yet, I believe this is the first conscious declaration from this greatest jazz piano trio for exploring unseen realm of jazz improvization.
This album is essential if only for the first and third tracks, where the improvisation carries the musicians into some downright profound sonic bliss. The first song, "From the Body" is a definite high point. In the beginning of its 21 minutes, Keith Jarrett plays a simple, catchy, odd-timed modal melody. The others join, immediately cohering their minds to create an open, extra-sensory means of communication. Quite simply, it's uncanny how well they play together, their collegiality informing every note they play. For nearly 12-minutes they carry on without a dull moment, but it only gets better. Towards the end it shifts into a subdued, high speed shimmering pointillist whirl and it's spine-tinglingly energetic. It swells to Keith Jarrett bringing down a majestic piano performance of classical power.
Then there is "341 Free Fade", my other favorite piece on the album. It opens with Peacock's heavy solo, then the others join him and they weave through a telepathically flowing jazz improv. It gradually shifts into more abstract territory, finally becoming an avant-sounding clatter that carries on for eight minutes or so, decidedly unjazzy -- un*anything* -- with DeJohnette's drums clacking, Jarrett's atonal piano plinking in odd time signatures, and Peacock's bass erratically thumping and buzzing. The most intense part is near the end where Jarrett and Peacock approach a nearly post-minimalist restraint of notes, with the spaces of silence between them just as powerful as any sound, all the while DeJohnette's high-hat hisses a steady 4/4 pulse while a continuous snare buzz radiates through the otherworldly ambience created.
The rest is very good also. I won't describe the pieces individually but they are excellent - however, the improvisation doesn't carry them into the exciting realms of the pieces I described above. "When I Fall In Love" is not improvised -- it's a gentle jazz standard that is the 'weakest' song on the album in and of itself, although it is a nice way to end the CD.
First, let me state at the start that Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette form one of the world's most accomplished jazz trios. As a testament to my deep affection for their music, I am fortunate to own the majority of Keith Jarrett's solo as well as his Trio's recordings. Their music can be sublimely poetic and lyrical, as in their 1998 CD Tokyo '96 (ECM 1666) or overflowing with energy and musicality as in their 2000 CD Whisper Not (ECM 1724-25).
'Inside Out' is a major departure from their previous work. The first difference is their lack of use of 'standards' for tonal and rhythmic support. And here is my first disappointment - while Jarrett is a 'complete musician', he does not compose well and falls all too easily into a drone, a repetitive phrase and tonal key that all too soon becomes tiresome. He seems to fall into a trance and cannot wake up for minutes on end.
You cannot simply dismiss this as an inability to appreciate abstract improvisation. Those of you who are familiar with and appreciate the work of Bobo Stenson's Trio, Peter Erskine's Trio or the more recent Vassilis Tsabropoulos Trio (all on ECM by the way) should think of the difference between these abstract improvisations and Jarrett's. These are wonderfully creative compositions (not 'standards') and improvisations - five stars to each of these.
My second disappointment lies not only in what's present in Inside Out, but what is lacking. No rhythmic pulse, playful interplay, and most importantly lyricism that this trio can bring to painfully beautiful heights. They are very much missed.
A couple of examples: 1) in two of the compositions, fade-in/fade-outs are used to keep these from running too long. What does this say about these peices? 2) as if admitting that these improvised sets are lacking, the CD ends with a rather oversweet version of When I Fall in Love.
Are Jarrett's motivations side-tracked by his sour references to Ken Burns and Wynton Marsalis's lack of appreciation of free improvisation (liner notes) rather than a genuine inspiration to create something new? Has he tired of the same old jazz trio format that has inspired his Trio, and us, for three decades? I hope he'll reconsider abandoning that 'old' for this 'new' direction, or at least that he'll keep both old and new alive.
"Inside Out" is of this type. Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, and Jack DeJohnette it at it again, producing gorgeous music. The trio has played standards in many years in a free way. On this album they have gone one step further to so-called "free" playing. Each of them has experimented with it in the 60s, so it's not a new experience for them.
The first tune on the album, "From The Body", begins with Jarrett playing a theme-like introduction, the others then follow. The next tune, "Inside Out", is blues-inspired, at least after a while. The songs don't follow a strict scheme in any way, it's up to each of them to form the music as he likes while of course paying atttention to the overall direction and flow. Most often it's Jarrett who begins with new ideas. But the other two has as much to say as him. The album ends with a standard, as if to say, "we still can play standards!" It's to beutifully played that it leaves the listener wanting more.
This popular trio has went a new way, making some listeners displeased, others pleased. If you like free music or this trio and are open to different types of music, you will like this album. But some concentration and active listening is required to appreciate the music. If this type of music is new to you, pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit down and relax and concentrate. Then let the music speak.