The Survivors' Suite
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The Survivors' Suite
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Keith Jarrett - (piano, soprano saxophone, bass recorder, celeste, osi
drums), Dewey Redman - (tenor saxophone, percussion), Charlie Haden -
(bass), Paul Motian - (drums, percussion)
Keith Jarrett's prolific quartet work during the 1970s had lots of peaks, from his Nordic band's Belonging to his US-based band's entire Impulse! output. This 1977 date, featuring the US lineup of Jarrett and tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Paul Motian, also highlighted Jarrett's soprano saxophone, celeste, bass recorder and percussion across the span of two lengthy 20-plus-minute segments of the Survivors' Suite. Slow developments intensify the music's length, both harmonic and melodic, as it builds toward cresting and busting points and recedes again into remarkably sensitive, quiet solos and duos between the group's players. Haden and Jarrett (on celeste) play a stellar duet to usher in the closing movement from the first segment, and, as always, Redman plays with a biting intensity and a Texas-blues yearning that's as wide and long as the Lone Star state. --Andrew Bartlett
Top customer reviews
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.
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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