“The Köln Concert” by Keith Jarrett - album review

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TJR says

An absorbing 66 minutes from one man and a piano, with occasional moans and grunts in all the right places, resulting in the biggest selling solo-piano album of all-time. The set, performed by the 29-year-old at the Opera House in Köln on January 24th 1975, is completely improvised and the end-results are highly impressive, especially given the back-story as told via Wiki: “The concert was organized by 17-year-old Vera Brandes, then Germany’s youngest concert promoter. At Jarrett's request, Brandes had selected a Bösendorfer 290 Imperial concert grand piano for the performance. However, there was some confusion by the opera house staff and instead they found another Bösendorfer piano backstage – a much smaller baby grand – and, assuming it was the one requested, placed it on the stage. Unfortunately, the error was discovered too late for the correct Bösendorfer to be delivered to the venue in time for the evening's concert. The piano they had was intended for rehearsals only and was in poor condition and required several hours of tuning and adjusting to make it playable. The instrument was tinny and thin in the upper registers and weak in the bass register, and the pedals did not work properly. Jarrett arrived at the opera house late in the afternoon and was tired after an exhausting long drive from Zürich, Switzerland, where he had performed a few days earlier. He had not slept well in several nights and was in pain from back problems and had to wear a brace. After trying out the substandard piano and learning a replacement instrument was not available, Jarrett nearly refused to play and Brandes had to convince him to perform as the concert was scheduled to begin in just a few hours. The concert took place at the unusually late hour of 23:30, following an earlier opera performance. This late-night time slot was the only one the administration would make available to Brandes for a jazz concert – the first ever at the Köln Opera House. The show was completely sold out and the venue was filled to capacity with over 1,400 people at a ticket price of 4 DM ($1.72). During the set, Jarrett used ostinatos and rolling left-hand rhythmic figures to give the effect of stronger bass notes, and concentrated his playing in the middle portion of the keyboard. Despite the obstacles, Jarrett's performance was enthusiastically received by the audience and the subsequent recording was acclaimed by critics. It remains his most popular recording and continues to sell well, decades after its initial release.

The Jukebox Rebel
24-Feb-2016


A [26:15] 7.2.png Keith Jarrett - Köln, January 24, 1975 Part I (Keith Jarrett) Jazz
B [15:00] 6.8.png Keith Jarrett - Köln, January 24, 1975 Part II a (Keith Jarrett) Jazz
C [19:19] 5.5.png Keith Jarrett - Köln, January 24, 1975 Part II b (Keith Jarrett) Contemporary Classical
D [06:59] 4.0.png Keith Jarrett - Köln, January 24, 1975 Part II c (Keith Jarrett) Contemporary Classical




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