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Paris / London - Testament Box set

4.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, 5 Oct 2009
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Product details

  • Audio CD (5 Oct. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: ECM
  • ASIN: B002JVHELG
  • Other Editions: Audio CD |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,761 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Product description

Product Description

Released to coincide with the 40th anniversary of ECM, these solo concerts from the great American pianist are recordings to put alongside the very finest in Keith Jarrett's solo idiom. Recorded in 2008, they are released as a specially priced 3-CD set.

At the end of 2008, Keith Jarrett added two concerts to his schedule at short notice - one at Paris's Salle Pleyel (November 26), one at London's Royal Festival Hall (December 1). The results were outstanding, even by Jarrett's own high standards, with powerful emotions never far from the music's surface. The open format, embracing much music in shorter episodes, makes the work in "the tradition" of Radiance, but there are also flashes of the existential poetic flair which made for instance the Sun Bear Concerts a special musical experience. In his liner notes, Jarrett gives a highly personal account of the music's inspirational genesis. The English date was Jarrett's first London solo concert for 18 years and, to quote one reviewer, "triggered the sort of ecstasy that might greet a returning prophet".

Solo recordings have accounted for some of Keith Jarrett's best-loved discs - from 'Facing You' to 'Vienna Concert', 'La Scala', 'The Carnegie Hall Concert' and more. 'The Köln Concert', of course, was to become one of the best-selling 'jazz' albums of all time, as well as the best-selling solo piano album in any genre, an album whose popularity has never waned. Now 'Testament' further documents the exceptional nature of Jarrett's solo music in the 21st century.

Personnel: Keith Jarrett (piano)

BBC Review

Three CDs containing two concerts’ worth of solo, wholly improvised piano music lasting two hours and 42 minutes. The bare facts of Keith Jarrett’s latest release for ECM may appear a little intimidating, but the music is truly exploratory, deeply felt and often very moving.

The first concert, recorded in Salle Pleyel, Paris in November 2008, is a rich, dark affair. The first two parts appear to gradually rise up out of roiling lower registers. It’s a little reminiscent of Chopin’s Preludes, whose darkly romantic sketches were described by Robert Schumann as “... ruins, individual eagle pinions, all disorder and wild confusions”. The comparison is leant weight by the circumstances in which the concerts took place: the pianist describes in the CD’s liner notes how these concerts served as sink or swim lifelines he threw himself after his wife of 30 years had left him.

Part III briefly spells out a gentle, forgiving melody that’s almost submerged by ringing notes as though Jarrett refuses the thought of clemency. Part IV is chaotic, notes spilling out in darting, thrilling runs shadowed by Jarrett’s freeform glossolalia. The effect is almost frightening in its physicality and forms a pivotal moment for the concert. Parts VI and VII lighten the mood and introduce a welcome sense of space and light. VII is shot through with hard-won benevolence and reaches for a glory that Part VIII deftly sidesteps with up-tempo note clusters and sudden pauses.

The second concert, recorded at London’s Royal Festival Hall a few days later, begins in similarly sombre territory, but Jarrett goes on to perform a much more varied set than Paris. Part II is fierce in its sudden, oblique attack while its strongly rhythmic basis drives the music forward. Part III is notably gospel-infused and celebratory while Part IV is the most delicate so far comprising waterfall-like high notes. Overall, the concert seems to lack the narrative cohesion of the first disc but it remains a pleasure to follow all the same. --Colin Buttimer

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on 9 October 2009
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on 31 May 2010
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