I don't know why these concerts haven't been released before, but I'm glad they are out now. Having first got to know Jarrett via the Cologne and La Scala concerts and been rather disappointed with the Sun Bear series, these two definitely lived up to expectations.
Strangely, this gem in Keith Jarrett's long string of output has never been available on CD in its entirety. This has now been remedied, and it has been worth the wait. This is probably one of Jarrett's best solo piano recordings, so if you like the Köln concerts, you simply need this. No more words required.
Although I subscribe to the ECM newsletter,I must have missed this fuller, complete set.Happily,I just stumbled upon it whilst browsing.I'm a huge fan of the man,have been for years,in fact he's cost me thousands of pounds over time,as he converted me to the piano as a solo instrument,and I've been a collector of hundreds of classical piano sonatas,etc. ever since.But as much as I enjoy those,Keith Jarrett remains a firm favourite,and in just about any context.Quartet(the American one for preference),solo,trio,he is the most inventive,musicianly pianist I know.Despite his hubris (sometimes haranguing audiences for their non attention,or non provision of inspiration),I love his music,and a pianist of his phenomenal talent and scope must be allowed some ego,I suppose.Anyway,I don't have to live with him,but wonder if I could without his music?Not sure,once heard,I could. An improviser of the most remarkable gifts,this should be in any serious collection for the piano aficianado,be their interest jazz or classical.
This is the first opportunity to hear the entirety of the München concert although, as alluded to above, Part IV appears in Jarrett's :rarum compilation sandwiched almost improbably between the saxophone and organ of one version of "Invocations" and "Late Night Willie" from the Jarrett, Garbarek, Danielsson and Christensen quartet. That Jarrett included both Part IV and "Heartland" from Bregenz in his personal resume was primarily testament to his conscious attempt to "direct the listener's attention to recordings that have been, in [his] opinion less than...is their due" but, now, an added incentive to listen to "Concerts" in full.
With the above in mind, and buoyed by the rich critical praise, I was rather underwhelmed on the first couple of listens. Thereafter, what seemed to be caution and (over) control revealed itself as precision, a masterful oversight of the conception and an utter confidence in the audacity of the enterprise. While these things are personal, nothing moves me in the way the opening of "Koln" or the closing of "La Scala" but there are still great epiphanic moments as Jarrett releases (or reaches) almost transcendental beauty. "Bregenz" is the standout of the three discs and to describe the influences as the usual bag of Bach and rag and everything inbetween is trite but reminds one of the sheer scope of Jarrett's oeuvre. The liner notes are excellent, detailed, thoughtful but accessible and contribute to a handsome release of great music at an attractive price.