Album review. An album of beautifully crafted love songs played in duet between Keith Jarrett (piano) and Charlie Haden (bass).
Release date: May 27th 2010
Availability: CD, MP3 Download
'Jasmine' is an album of beautifully crafted love songs played in duet between Keith Jarrett (piano) and Charlie Haden (bass). As Keith Jarrett says:
'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.'
The album is centred on an inspired choice of songs, an intimacy that comes from recording away from the pressures of a commercial studio and a spontaneous interaction between two gifted musicians who last played together over thirty years before (when Charlie Haden was part of Keith Jarrett's American Quartet).
'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.
Keith Jarrett gives more background on the recording of the album:
'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.'
This Universal Music France EPK is based on the session:
The album was spontaneous in realization but that did not mean that there was anything but the greatest deliberation about how and in what form the music that emerged in those two days should be presented:
'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…. 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.'
The choice of music is key. It is more than the expected dip into the American Songbook. Only Johnny Green's 'Body And Soul', Sam M. Lewis / J. Fred Coots ' For All We Know' and the Hammerstein II / Kern standard 'Don't Ever Leave Me' are really well known. The McCarthy/Coleman song 'I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life' appeared on Charlie Haden's album 'The Art Of Song'. 'One Day I'll Fly Away' (Will Jennings / Joe Sample), 'Where Can I Go Without You' (Peggy Lee / Victor Young) and 'No Moon At All' (David Mann / Redd Evans) really work well in this context.
'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.'
A great deal of material was left on the cutting room floor:
'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.'
The care taken in every aspect of the conception and production of this album shines out in every performance; nothing seems superfluous, nothing forced, everything is a state of balance.
Yet another fine album in what is becoming one of the most productive periods in Keith Jarrett's career.
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