Saturday, June 5, 2010

CD of the Day - "Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden: Jasmine"

CD of the Day
Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden: "Jasmine" (ECM) 2010

"Jasmine" marks Keith Jarrett's first recorded collaboration in decades other than with his standards trio, and reunites him with the great bassist Charlie Haden, a close partner until the mid-70s. Intimate, spontaneous and warm, this album of love songs recorded at Jarrett's home, has affinities, in its unaffected directness, with his solo collection "The Melody At Night With You." These deeply felt performances should inspire any listener "to call your wife or husband or lover in late at night," as Jarrett says in his liner notes, "These are great love songs played by players who are trying, mostly, to keep the message intact." The program on Jasmine includes such classic songs as "Body and Soul", "For All We Know" , "Where Can I Go Without You", "Don't Ever Leave Me" as well as a rare Jarrett cover of a contemporary pop song, "One Day I'll Fly Away," co-written by Joe Sample & Will Jenning for singer Randy Crawford.

Jarrett and Haden play the music and nothing but the music - as only they can. As Keith Jarrett says in his liner notes: "This is spontaneous music made on the spot without any preparation save our dedication throughout our lives that we won't accept a substitute... These are great love songs played by players who are trying, mostly, to keep the message intact."
Liner notes by Keith Jarrett:
"Music is an amazing thing. It doesn't exist as a stationary object. It moves in real time and can be uplifting both to the player and the listener. The melting, trans-figurative moment, that feeling of everything being there, just for an instant, that surrender that overcomes us as players (if we're good enough) and leads us on to the next pregnant second, patient in the knowledge that there always is, waiting in the wings, the next chance to feel this fullness and celebrate it (as it is only in the nature of art to produce it this way); to this we dedicate our lives. But it is not for us alone; it is also made for you, the listener, to feel these same feelings along with us, to participate and to also be uplifted by it. Art is dying in this world, and so is listening, as the world becomes more full of toys and special effects. With this death will come the undoing of many possible feelings: beautiful, tender, deep, trusting, true, sad, full of internal meaning and color. Closeness won't have to necessarily be physical. Intimacy will be hard to find.

Communication will be lost. Here is some music for you. Take it and it's yours. Charlie and I are obsessed with beauty. An ecstatic moment in music is worth the lifetime of mastery that goes into it, because it can be shared.

This recording was done in my small studio. It has very dry sound and we didn't want to have the recording sound like anything but exactly what we were hearing while we played. So it is direct and straightforward. I chose to use the American Steinway that really isn't at all in the best of shape, yet I have this strange connection with it, and it is better for a kind of informality and slight funkiness that was going to work with the music. With a choice of songs this good, it was hard not to become engaged right away. We did not rehearse per se, but went over chords when necessary. This was really a session that came as a result of doing an interview for a film about Charlie, after which we played a couple tunes. We had not played in over thirty years, but something magical happened and I then invited Charlie and his wife to the house to do some playing for a few days with no assurance that we'd have anything (including sound) that we'd want to release.

Over close to three years we lived with these tapes, talked a lot about them, disputed over choices, but eventually I found Charlie to be the most remarkable and sensitive helper in getting this finally assembled. I wanted only the distilled essence of what we had, and it took some time to wean ourselves from going for hip solos or unevenly played tunes (even though they had wonderful things inside them). Some were too long; others were somehow out of character.

Charlie and I listened to this many many times (mostly late at night) and became aware that there were some that just had more magic, more moments of surrender to the mood while retaining their essential integrity. This is what I was looking for; and then I had the unenviable job of finding the right order. After I thought I found it, Charlie called me and said, "How did you figure that out?" I think I said that none of the rational ideas of how to order things made sense, so I went into "not thinking" mode and came up with (dare I say it?) the only perfect order of these great versions.

I hope many of you can hear this on a good system. There are nuances abounding and the details make the music what it is. Jasmine is a night-blooming flower with a beautiful fragrance and I hope you can hear what went into this, as there is no way to do anything as touching as this by rehearsing it until it dies. This is spontaneous music made on the spot without any preparation save our dedication throughout our lives that we won't accept a substitute: it's either the real thing or it's nothing. It's either real life or it's a cartoon.

Call your wife or husband or lover in late at night and sit down and listen. These are great love songs played by players who are trying, mostly, to keep the message intact. I hope you can hear it the way we did.
Perfekt getimte Reunion

Gut 30 Jahre nach ihrer letzten Zusammenarbeit haben Keith Jarrett und Charlie Haden für ECM das Duo-Album "Jasmine" aufgenommen
Manchmal ist es einfach nur eine Frage guten Timings! Dass Keith Jarrett und Charlie Haden den perfekten Zeitpunkt für ihre Reunion gefunden haben, weiß man schon nach wenigen Takten des ersten Songs ihres Duo-Albums "Jasmine". Mit geradezu majestätischer Ruhe und vollendeter Eleganz interpretieren sie Fred Coots' "For All We Know". Dass sie geschlagene dreißig Jahre lang getrennte Wege gegangen waren, mag man angesichts ihres traumwandlerischen Zusammenspiels kaum glauben. Aber es ist tatsächlich so: Ihre letzte musikalische Begegnung hatte 1976 stattgefunden, als sie für ECM gemeinsam mit Dewey Redman und Paul Motian das Live-Album "Eyes Of The Heart" aufnahmen. Das Quartett zählte damals zur Jazz-Avantgarde und war für die Musiker eine experimentelle Spielwiese. Heute besitzen Jarrett und Haden eine ganz andere musikalische Reife und verstehen es wie nur wenige andere Musiker, alles Unwichtige abzustreifen und sich auf die musikalische Essenz der Songs, die sie spielen, zu konzentrieren. Selbst wenn das Tempo wie bei Redd Evans' "No Moon At All" einmal angezogen wird, strahlt dieses Duo eine unglaubliche Ruhe aus, in der seine wahre Kraft liegt.

Die Reunion der beiden kam eher zufällig zustande. Anfang 2007 war Jarrett von dem Dokumentarfilmer Reto Caduff darum gebeten worden, sich für "Rambling Boy", ein Biopic über Charlie Haden, an die Zusammenarbeit mit dem Bassisten in den 70er Jahren zurückzuerinnern. Als sich Haden und Jarrett während der Dreharbeiten trafen, kamen sie auf die Idee, noch einmal völlig zwanglos zusammen zu spielen. Diese Session machte beiden aber so viel Spaß, dass Jarrett Haden zu sich nach Hause einlud, um dort weiterzumachen. Und so trafen sie sich dort im März 2007 und zogen sich vier Tage lang in Jarretts Heimstudio zurück.

"Diese Aufnahme wurde in meinem kleinen Studio gemacht", erzählt Jarrett in den Linernotes des Albums. "Deshalb klingt sie so direkt und unmittelbar. Ich entschied mich dafür, auf meinem amerikanischen Steinway zu spielen, obwohl der wirklich nicht in bester Verfassung ist. Aber ich mag ihn seltsamerweise einfach. Und für die Ungezwungenheit und dezente Funkyness, mit der ich diese Musik angehen wollte, ist er besser geeignet. Wenn man dann so großartige Songs spielt, geht man auch gleich mit dem richtigen Engagement zur Sache. Wir haben nicht im eigentlichen Sinne geprobt, sondern nur da, wo es nötig war, ein paar Akkorde ausprobiert... Dies ist spontane Musik, die aus dem Stegreif und ohne jegliche Vorbereitung entstand. Wenn man einmal die Hingabe außer acht lässt, die wir dieser Musik unser Leben lang gewidmet haben und die wir natürlich gegen nichts in der Welt eintauschen würden. Es sind großartige Liedeslieder, gespielt von Musikern, die sich, zumindest meist, bemühen, die Originalbotschaft der Songs intakt zu lassen. Ich hoffe, man kann sie aus unseren Interpretationen noch heraushören."

Neben zeitlosen Jazzklassikern wie "Body And Soul", "For All We Know", "Where Can I Go Without You?" und "Don't Ever Leave Me" spielte das Duo hier auch einen Song ein, der aus dem Repertoire heraussticht: die soulige Popballade "One Day I'll Fly Away ", die Joe Sample und Will Jennings 1980 für die Sängerin Randy Crawford geschrieben hatten. Jarrett wurde auf die Nummer aufmerksam, als er sie in der Version von Nicole Kidman in dem Film "Moulin Rouge" hörte. Gemeinsam mit Charlie Haden erhob er den wunderbaren Song nun in den Rang eines Jazzstandards.

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