Keith Jarrett: Death and the Flower


Death and the Flower


Keith Jarrett (piano, wood flute, percussion)


Death and the Flower (Impulse 9301)

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Keith Jarrett (piano, wood flute, percussion), Dewey Redman (tenor sax, percussion), Charlie Haden (bass), Paul Motian (drums, percussion), Guilherme Franco (percussion).

Composed by Keith Jarrett


Recorded: New York, October 9-10, 1974


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

Keith Jarrett delighted in subverting the familiar conventions of the piano-led jazz band with his early 1970s combo work. He relied on Redman and Haden, fire tested in the school of Ornette, who didn't really need chords from the keyboard to guide their musical journeys. And sometimes Jarrett would step away from the piano himself. The instrument does not even appear until some six minutes into this track. Instead we have a delicate web of percussion underpinning wood flute, and eventually Haden's bass enters throbbing like a slow heartbeat. But Jarrett's solo, when it arrives, is worth the wait. His touch and melodic inventiveness are shown off to good effect. Tone control, always one of his strengths, is especially evident here, with Motian and Haden giving him space and dynamic room to make best use of his ethereal pianissimo. Redman imposes a more macho attitude when his tenor enters the fray, and one can hear the whole group adjusting. In fact, the give-and-take throughout this entire performance is noteworthy. Jarrett doesn't so much lead this band as immerse himself into its suchness. Yet his composition serves as the fluid structure that makes it all possible. This extended work (some 22 minutes) is essential listening for anyone who wants to come to grips with the artistry of pre-Standards Jarrett.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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