Keith Jarrett Trio – Royal Festival Hall

By Mark Youll | 4th September, 2011 | gig reviews |

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Once inside this plush, packed auditorium there’s no escaping the warm gust of anticipation that almost always hangs over Jazz events of this magnitude. For this evening’s hungry house of Jarrett buffs, its heated expectation borne out of this trio’s prodigious reputation that swirls this hall , and sustains well into Jarrett’s own emotive reading of Brubeck’s In His Own Sweet Way, before cooling amongst the intricacies, intimacies , and breathtaking virtuosity this show duly dishes out.

Despite some typically rich interplay from the off, and against some obvious sound issues , the trio’s first set is a slow burner, with a laidback Peacock and DeJohnette struggling to ignite any early spark or momentum, trapped under the heel of Jarrett’s more sombre arrangements of St Louis Blues, or the sluggish Broadway schmoozer What Now My Love.

It’s not until the vibrant march of Basin Street Blues, and the Bop-bright spin on Clifford Brown’s Sandu, that this show truly takes off, the latter spurring a burst of rousing trade-offs that frantically steer this tune to its driving climax, governed by a fluttering of inspired brushwork at the hands of DeJohnette.

The brisk, Jarrett-penned Bop-Be that opens the second set, announces an altogether more tireless trio that, through a trend of narcotic balladry (Yesterdays), and blazing standards like Ornette Coleman’s When Will The Blues Leave, not only win back the applause of those formally disorientated, but warrant a run of fiery encores lit by the funky strains of long-serving live favourite God Bless The Child.

As the passionate lyricism of breezy swinger When I Fall In Love closes tonight’s show, and Jarrett’s fully-fed fans file out, there is a sloppy sentiment that assumes they may well have left their earlier expectation behind them, satisfied with what they have digested along the way.

Mark Youll

  • D

    Definitely one of the great jazz piano trios. These guys are past their peak, but still do incredible things musically. Their kind of telepathic interaction is not easy to find in today’s industry of ever-changing lineups and replaceable rhythm sections.

    Jarrett/Peacock/Dejohnette are a throwback to the ‘good ol days’ of jazz, and it’s great to see them still doing their thing.