Keith Jarrett: The Journey Home
The Journey Home
Keith Jarrett (piano)
My Song (ECM 1115)
Composed by Keith Jarrett.
Recorded: Oslo, Norway, October 31, November 1, 1977
Rating: 99/100 (learn more)
When Keith Jarrett left behind his highly esteemed American quartet for a new band of Norwegians, the jazz world was puzzled and a little bit skeptical. Yet this group—the so-called European quartet—produced some of the most successful music of Jarrett's career, and had a very big seller with the My Song album. Even today, critics are quicker to praise the looser, more unpredictable American quartet; and, certainly, if jazz were sports, you would get fired from the GM job for trading Paul Motian for Jon Christensen, etc. But jazz is not sports, and this band achieved a holistic transcendence that made them an ideal ensemble for realizing Jarrett's compositions of the period.
"The Journey Home" is a case in point. The star here is Jarrett's composition, which moves through several distinct moods, from a melancholy rubato which leads into a spirited folksy melody with a very danceable beat (one of this composer's most inspired moments) before the piece settles into a slow 9/8 section that could stand on its own as a significant composition. The four musicians enter into the inner workings of this music with perfect sympathy and—that great rarity in the jazz world—almost no signs of ego. The whole My Song album is essential listening for Jarrett fans, and perhaps came the closest of any Jarrett quartet album to matching the type of musical personality he showed when playing his famous solo piano concerts. But if you want to start out with a single track as introduction to the European quartet, this is a very good place to begin.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia