Wednesday, 12 September 2012


Jarrett/Garbarek/Danielsson/Christensen : Sleeper

ECM 2290/91 3705570

Keith Jarrett (p, perc); Jan Garbarek (ts, ss, fl, perc); Palle Danielsson (b); Jon Christensen (d, perc) Recorded Tokyo; April 16th 1979
With the Keith Jarrett discography for ECM already a monumental body of work it is still an event when a new release is made available, not least an unissued live performance form the classic 70’s ‘Belonging’ band.

This stellar band of Jarrett with Jan Garbarek, Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen released only four albums during its existence, the two studio albums My Song and Belonging; along with two live offerings in Nude Ants, and released some 10 years later, Personal Mountains.
Rather than de-value the importance of an influential unit, this further helping of concert performance adds to appreciation of just how good the ‘European’ quartet were, and that the passing of time has done nothing to lessen the impact of Jarrett’s compositions.
From the opening rendition of “Personal Mountains” Jarrett plays like a man possessed with his ideas tumbling out at a furious yet controlled pace, with the distinct impression that the music is not being driven by the rhythm team of Danielsson and Christensen, but they themselves are being pulled along in the pianist’s wake.
The real joy in this album is, however, hearing how these four supremely gifted individuals work together as a group. With a sensitivity to tempo and dynamics, the quartet delight with Keith’s  beautiful melodies imbued with feeling and life.
Garbarek’s playing is a revelation to those who have only so far heard his work form the eighties onwards, and his phrasing is distinctly more jazzy and less pressurised, with his tenor playing either tender or cutting by turns yet returning its intensely lyrical bent.
From the exquisite ballad playing of “Innocence”, Garbarek’s delightful flute on “Oasis”, or the joyfully exuberant “New Dance” this yet another essential release in the continually unfolding Jarrett story, and is a must hear disc of 2012.

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