You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Keith Jarrett

A Keith Jarrett solo concert is a combination of the strange and the sublime.

A Keith Jarrett solo concert is a combination of the strange and the sublime – acoustic grand piano music beyond category made on the wing interspersed with personal quirks that are the musician’s trademark. So it was in one of Jarrett’s now-infrequent solo gigs before a sold-out crowd at Walt Disney Concert Hall Monday night. The structure may have changed since these ventures began in the early-1970s, but the values that Jarrett crusaded for in these concerts have remained the same –  and ECM’s microphones were there to take it all down, hopefully for future release.

The solo concerts once consisted mainly of two, mesmerizing, longform rambles, but when Jarrett revived them in the early 2000s, they became strings of short thoughts, often based on one idea each.

His current ECM album “Testament” – a sprawling three-CD set recorded in Paris and London in the wake of some turmoil in his personal life – adheres to that format, as did his Disney Hall concert.

Where once all of Jarrett’s influences flowed together in a stream-of-consciouness sequence, they now usually sort themselves out, as if he was composing a suite instead of a tone poem. The first segment was easily the longest – nearly 15 minutes –  beginning with atonal abstractions (think Pierre Boulez or Milton Babbitt) and eventually working its way back in time to Prokofiev. The tiny, rolling 2-minute third section sounded like an homage to the howling-wind finale of Chopin’s “Funeral March” Sonata, followed abruptly by a segment of foot-stomping slow funk.

Part of the weird charm of a Jarrett solo concert are his pointed spoken comments – and he compulsively went back to the open mic again and again. Now and then, there may have been a method in the madness. He would lament the passing of old values in the Apple Computer age – “What happened to mastery?” –  and then come up with a nostalgic, lyrical piece of fragile beauty. He would cut off a stillborn boogie after a few seconds –  “That’s not what I meant to play” – ask for requests (!), complain about the Internet again, and then launch a better boogie that rocked the hall.

As always, this was high-wire playing, with all of Jarrett’s keyboard skills – the variety of touches, the sparkling technique, the great instinct for the groove, the roving independent mind – still intact. Sometimes, you get the feeling that Jarrett’s explorations have reached their limits and tend to re-plow old ground. But Jarrett is aware enough to kid himself about it – and in the end, his encores, like a rollercoaster “Carolina Shout” and a simple, tender “Over The Rainbow,” settled contentedly into an earlier, Google-free time. Or perhaps he would call it a timeless time.

Keith Jarrett

Walt Disney Concert Hall, 2,265 seats $35-$140

Production: Presented by Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. Performer: Keith Jarrett. Reviewed March 15, 2010.

More Music

  • Mary Poppins 1964

    P.L. Travers' Efforts to Adapt 'Mary Poppins' for Film, TV Were Often Less Than Jolly

    Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” a sequel decades in the making, opens Dec. 19. Even before the 1964 original, Hollywood made several attempts to adapt P.L. Travers’ books, with Samuel Goldwyn and Katharine Hepburn among those involved in the chase. But aside from a one-hour 1949 CBS television version, they all hit a dead-end. The first [...]

  • Stevie Nicks Fleetwood Mac in concert

    Hall of Famer Stevie Nicks Thanks Jimmy Iovine for Talking Her Into Solo Career

    Stevie Nicks had a monumental Thursday, starting the day by being elected to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as a solo artist and ending it onstage with Fleetwood Mac playing before a sold-out audience for the second of three nights at the Forum. During the show, Nicks addressed her big news that day, [...]

  • Kanye West

    Kanye West Accuses Drake of 'Threatening' His Family in Epic Twitter Binge

    Kanye West re-ignited his feud with Drake on Thursday night, accusing the rapper of “threatening” his family in a dozens-long Twitter binge on Thursday night. The latest installment of the saga between the former friends — which flared up most dramatically back in May when Pusha T revealed that Drake has a son with model [...]

  • Kacey Musgraves Cardi B Janelle Monae

    The Best Albums of 2018

    Even by recent standards, these are times that try human souls. And not surprisingly, that was reflected in the music of 2018: Whether metaphorically responding to the political realities of America (“Black Panther), mimicking the ADD nature of modern culture (Terra Whack) or simply providing a distraction, however brief, from too much reality (take your [...]

  • Kamasi Washington Alejandro Escovedo Janelle Monae

    Chris Morris' 10 Best Albums of 2018

    Kamasi Washington, “Heaven and Earth” Washington has proven to be an unclassifiable asset, both in his own name and as a contributor to Kendrick Lamar’s albums, including the Pulitzer-winning “DAMN.” This second three-CD set in three years (which encompasses the “hidden” EP “The Choice”) demonstrates the tenor saxophonist’s towering ambition and further breaks down the [...]

  • Elvis Costello Brandi Carlile Father John

    Chris Willman's 20 Best Albums of 2018

    Elvis Costello & the Imposters, “Look Now” (Concord) There are other Rock & Roll Hall of Famers who are Costello’s songwriting equal — blokes named Bob and Bruce come to mind — but none who’ve maintained such a consistently high level of lyrical and melodic invention over four decades or more. As a record-maker, Costello had pretty [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content