Keith Jarrett

Keith Jarrett

American pianist and composer

Born in Allentown, PA on V-E day, (May 8, 1945) Jarrett's prodigious musical talent was recognized early. Piano Lessons began at 3, and at 7 he performed his debut recital playing both traditional classical works and his own compositions. In his teens, in addition to composing and playing classical music, Jarrett began to play jazz and gigged locally around Pennsylvania on piano and drums. At 17, Fred Waring, the musical entrepreneur of the area, heard Jarrett and arranged for him to go to Paris and study composition with Nadia Boulanger. Instead, Jarrett decided to go to Boston's Berklee College of Music (for a year) and then on to New York to pursue jazz. At 21, Jarrett gained wide exposure touring the world with (saxophonist) Charles Lloyd's Quartet. Noticed by Miles Davis, the trumpeter asked him to join the band in 1970. Jarrett spent almost two years with Davis and during this time he also recorded his first ground-breaking solo piano improvisation, "Facing You." Throughout the '70s, Jarrett's busy musical life included playing solo concerts, touring with his American Quartet, (with bassist Charlie Haden, drummer Paul Motian, and saxophonist Dewey Redman) and touring with his Scandinavian Quartet (featuring saxophonist Jan Garbarek).

Always maintaining an active interest in classical music, Jarrett decided to record and play in public near the end of the 70s. He first performed contemporary works (Bartok, Barber, Stravinsky concertos) and then focused more on Baroque and Classical works. In 1983 Jarrett formed his "Standards" Trio with Gary Peacock on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums. The group continues to perform the "Great American Songbook" with an open, improvisatory approach and no preconceived arrangements. Currently, Jarrett divides his time between classical music, the Standards Trio, and solo concerts. He maintains the only way he can work in diverse areas is to perform sparingly, one activity at a time, and allow for sufficient time between projects.

Jarrett is an uncompromising artist and not afraid to speak his mind. He will berate audiences for talking, cancel concerts when the piano is sub-standard, and respond to critics he feels are ignorant. Jarrett has also written articles about his dissatisfaction with today's neo--conservative movement in jazz , and its mass marketing. His out--spokenness combined with unorthodox mannerisms at the piano and singing during his improvisations all contribute to his controversial status.

he lives with his wife, Rose Ann. We talked openly on many subjects and I found Jarrett to be hospitable and generous with his time.

The theory of octaves had a tremendous impact on pianist Keith Jarrett, who read about them in Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, Gurdjieff's longest, most allegorical, and most difficult book.

Jarrett’s love of impressionistic études falls nicely in line with Gurdjieff’s own keyboard compositions, which he claimed were direct transcriptions of pieces from the spiritual masters that he had studied with. For Gurdjieff, music was a direct and immediate expression of the divine, assisting in focusing one’s inner sight to the subtle plains of vast spiritual dimensions.

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