Jarrett, Garbarek, Danielsson, Christensen: Sleeper (ECM/Ode)

 |   |  1 min read

Jarrett, Garbarek: New Dance
Jarrett, Garbarek, Danielsson, Christensen: Sleeper (ECM/Ode)

By my exceptionally crude count, pianist Keith Jarrett's name (as leader of a group or solo) is on at least 65 albums -- and some, indeed many, of those are double albums, triple sets or large boxes.

I guess saxophonist Jan Garbarek wouldn't be too far behind (although he generally limits hmself to single discs) and bassist Palle Danielsson and drummer Jon Christensen are no slouches when it comes to recording.

This double disc recorded live in Tokyo in '79 -- which would have been at least triple vinyl had it been released at the time -- captures one of Jarrett's classic early line-ups, the group known as his European Quartet, in a superb performance where they explore folk melodies and odd percussive effects on the standout Oasis (Garbarek on wooden flute) which runs for a never dull 28 minutes and takes the listener through a world music journey of fascinating subtlety.

This was almost the last hurrah for this supergroup (they disbanded later the same year) but came at a time when each player's reputation was assured, Jarrett and Garbarek had loyal followers, and the call of daring improvisation was rarely higher.

There are bluesy elements in places (Jarrett on Chant of the Soil beneath Garbarek's sax which comes on like an annoying but tuneful mosquito) but also Latin flourishes (Personal Mountains) and even a little joyous, Rollins-influenced calypso on the encore New Dance.

And given the often frosty tone which Garbarek can bring to his playing, here he boils with warm enthusiasm and emotional empathy (on the ballad Innocence) in the company of equals. 

Yes, there must be Jarrett and Garbarek fatigue out there, but this recording captured them both at a career high and is a rare entry in the catalogue of Jarrett's European Quartet which, on the evidence here, went woefully under-represented on record/disc.

If you feel you have filled your quota of recent Jarrett and his interpretations of standards, this is the album to come back for.

It was a very good year for these players and here, finally, is further evidence.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

Cecile McLorin Salvant: Dreams and Daggers (Mack Avenue/Southbound)

Cecile McLorin Salvant: Dreams and Daggers (Mack Avenue/Southbound)

Although this Grammy-winning jazz singer is probably on very few people's scanner right now, no doubt that will change in the run-up to her appearances at the New Zealand Arts Festival in... > Read more

FRANK GIBSON PROFILED (2008): Long Distance Drummer

FRANK GIBSON PROFILED (2008): Long Distance Drummer

Early in 2007 I would get calls from Frank Gibson, who some say is arguably this country’s finest drummer. I would have thought that was beyond argument myself. Frank was asking what... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: Earth, Wind and Fire, The Box Set Series

THE BARGAIN BUY: Earth, Wind and Fire, The Box Set Series

It's easy to forget -- because you don't hear much about them anymore -- how huge Earth Wind and Fire were: 20 Grammy nominations; terrific albums that crossed over between funk, rock, dance and... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . KLAUS NOMI: Twinkle twinkle little star . . .

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . KLAUS NOMI: Twinkle twinkle little star . . .

There have been some remarkable voices who have landed in rock culture -- that strange world where people like Tom Waits, Antony Hegarty (of Antony and the Johnsons), Yoko Ono and other people... > Read more