Monday, June 25, 2012
Keith Jarrett - J. S. Bach - Das Wohltemperierte Klavier Buch 1 (ECM New Series - 835 246-1)
Keith Jarrett is a worldwide known Jazz and improvisational pianist/composer. Actually it would be hard not to know him if you are into Jazz since he has been one of the most prominent artists in the last 3 decades. However, his talents are not limited only to Jazz since he has tried (Similar to his fellow contemporary Chick Corea) many different musical genres, mainly on the piano.
This box set is the interpretations of Bach's works for Harpsichord. This is quite a brief explanation of the whole thing actually. The reality lies a little deeper. As Jarrett himself explains, he did not want to add another Glenn Gould style version of Bach's works. There were already too many by lots of excessively gifted pianists. What Jarrett wanted to accomplish was to emphasize the whole thought process of Bach while he was composing these works.
One other interesting thing about the box set is that Jarrett did not want to adopt the works to the more flexible and expressive piano. He rather stuck to the original instrument of harpsichord. He explains the reasoning as "The piece is better than the piano". This is of course a step in his total process of trying to be as authentic as he could get to the music of Bach as he could while still having a touch of modernism via his improvisations. Honestly Jarrett's improvisations are the only key factor of difference from the original scores. Yet, we don't feel any make up or excessive expressionism on Jarrett's part. He is not showing off the parts that he improvises on. There are no Hendrix style "I lose myself now" solos. Jarrett's true talent here becomes in syncronising his miniature improvisations according to the general thought process of Bach and thus giving a more subtle view. There is no reforming here, no innovations, no ground breaking interpretations. It is just Bach with a little touch of Jarrett, but still under Bach's supervision. Even Bach would have been proud of this work.
Please also note that Keith Jarrett will be performing live in Istanbul during the Istanbul Jazz Festival on the 18th of July 2012 with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette. This will be a night to remember. Tickets can be found here.
To buy this box set: