Keith Jarrett is a pretty remarkable musician. To some extent his music is "beyond category" and his solo albums can be either totally brilliant (e.g. Koln Concert) or much harder going. On this album from 1974 he is found with a Scandinavian group that included: Jan Garbarek (saxes), Palle Danielsson (b) and Jon Christensen (d). There are six tracks, all Jarrett compositions, that vary in track length from 2.12 to 13.12, and in tempo. There are a couple of slow ballads, plus a couple of up tempo and another couple that fall somewhere in between. For me it is the more up beat tunes that take my attention ('Long As You Know You're Living Yours, and The Windup"), but the long langrous ballad "Blossom" is very intense. An interesting early album.
At his worst Keith Jarrett can be a sore trial, having perpetrated some pretty tiresome music over the years - I think of his double-album Spirits, on which he eschews piano for the most part to tinker to scant effect with various pipes and percussion - but at his finest there are few to touch him, and Belonging shows the Pennsylvanian at his lyrical best. With Jan Garbarek at his least indulgent (no hint of Officium earnestness here) and a Swedish rhythm section of like mind, this date is one of Jarrett/Garbarek`s most wholly satisfying, a mix of playful uptempo numbers and langourous ballads. Central to this set is a six-minute funky piano-led charmer called `Long As You Know You`re Living Yours, and thereby hangs a tale. Anyone who knows the music of Steely Dan will recognise the theme, as Becker & Fagen (in genuine tribute, rather than to decieve) passed it off as their own as the title track of the album Gaucho, until Jarrett sued - it was settled out of court. Both versions are great! In short, this is a lovely 45 minutes of well-programmed numbers from an excellent quartet on a pleasingly acoustic 1974 disc. In the right mood, Jarrett`s unique, lucent way with a melody hits the spot. Garbarek is on his coolly articulate top form here too. One of the good ones.
A marvellous quartet of musicians, featuring Keith Jarrett on Piano and Jan Garbarek on Sax. A wide range of styles from the Gospel influenced "Long as Your..." to frankly undefineable (but brilliant) pieces like "The Windup". Spiral Dance is another stand-out track. The key thing about this album, is that it is an entirely accoustic album, made in an era when the trend in Jazz was for more electric fusion based bands.
The musicianship is of the highest order, and the compositions are mostly written by Jarrett.
Have a listen to the samples on Amazon - unless you're a die-hard dixieland/trad fan there will be something here for you.