Although the cover of the box set doesn't say so, this is not a Jarrett solo set, but the 'Standards' trio, consisting of Jarrett, DeJohnette and Gary Peacock, recorded in the intimacy of the Blue Note over just three days in 1995. I say 'intimacy' because, judging by the applause, I'd be surprised if there were more than 300 in the audience. And you get frequent reminders that they are there -- on CD#1, track #1, around 7:10, you can hear a wine bottle go tumbling! It's so hard to pin Jarrett down. He's produced excellent group work (e.g. 'Survivors' and 'Nude Ants'), solo albums (e.g. 'Vienna' and 'Dark Intervals'), solo classical (e.g. Handel) and the experimental (e.g. 'Spheres' and 'Arbour Zena'). Previously I've found the Standards trio to be the least compelling aspect of his output -- it's tempting, on first hearing, to put it in the 'dinner jazz' category which so many other trios have successfully played. Jarrett's own compositions are of such a high calibre that it seems almost wasteful to have the band play largely other composers' songs. Perhaps it helps to have seen the trio perform on video or DVD, then you realise how special the band is. In the Japanese concert I have, Jarrett seems to spend over half the concert playing the concert standing up (and dancing rather strangely!). Jarrett's scat-singing is also, uhm, unusual -- I doubt whether he was taught the technique at the Juilliard. Although not budget-priced, it's impossible to fault this collection, and it is easy to be overwhelmed by the range of songs that the band played over three days, in two 65-minute sets per day.
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