Keith Jarrett, Vienna Musikverein, 9 July 2016

My heart did little somersaults when I saw this concert announced, and did some more when I realized that I would actually be in Vienna on the relevant date. A Keith Jarrett concert is a rare event, a solo concert doubly so. Add in the fact that he would be playing at the Musikverein, the most acclaimed and legendary concert hall in Vienna but one which I had never previously visited, and you had an evening of unmissable proportions.

I’ve been preoccupied with the matter of Jarrett ever since I first heard The Köln Concert, a stunning piece of work and one that is fully deserving of all the accolades that have been heaped on it over the years. Subsequent solo recordings such as The Carnegie Hall Concert and (oh, the irony) Vienna Concert connected with me as no other piano music has ever done. Here was music that seemed to exist outside space and time, its every note an instance of shimmering beauty, the performance as a whole a vast depiction of Jarrett’s rare improvisational gifts.

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Keith Jarrett, Vienna Konzerthaus, 8 July 2012

Not the kind of gig that I normally go for, this, but I felt compelled to attend because of Keith Jarrett’s stratospheric reputation as a pianist, plus the fact that, like many others, I fell under the spell of The Köln Concert on first hearing and have adored it ever since. That album’s blissful improvisations seemed to take jazz piano as far as I wanted it to go. As one who basically likes no kind of jazz except free jazz, but has never understood the appeal of Cecil Taylor, I immediately connected with Jarrett’s radiant and infinite playing. It would have been nice if this, too, had been a solo concert, but I figured that any Jarrett was better than no Jarrett at all.

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