JASMINE is a rarity among recent offerings by pianist Keith Jarrett – straight-ahead renderings of classic American songs played with bassist Charlie Haden (whom he last collaborated with 30 years ago) and recorded in the pianist’s home studio without adornment. Jarrett approached the material without preconceptions or rehearsal. It’s an old-school method that few contemporary musicians embrace (pianists Fred Hersch and Frank Kimbrough are exceptions) and the Jarrett-Haden partnership lovingly articulates the beauty and soul of each song with flawless technique and a lot of heart.
Classics from the past like “For All We Know,” “I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life” and “Body and Soul” share space with a new one, Joe Sample’s “One Day I’ll Fly Away,” a magical tune that will only grow in stature as it’s discovered by jazz and pop musicians alike. Jarrett plays with a poignancy and openness that has characterized his recent solo recordings. Notably, Redd Evans and David Mann’s “No Moon At All” has a blissful jauntiness and the standard by Kern/Hammerstein, “Don’t Ever Leave Me” has a lighter-than-air directness. Haden’s touch is profound; his plump bass notes have a full-bodied “woodiness” and in duet with Jarrett, they mingle in a perfect union.
Liner notes are unusual, too, for ECM recordings and Jarrett’s own explanation on the importance of communicating and sharing music is both obvious and revelatory. He’s also a flag waver for good sound and stresses that this recording be heard on a high-quality system. As Jarrett implores, listen to it at home preferably with someone close to you – to do so reveals eight ballads and love songs played with uncommon clarity and possessed of natural charm. www.ecmrecords.com
Labels: Charlie Haden, duet, ECM Records, Joe Sample, Keith Jarrett