The majority of criticism raged against Keith Jarrett concerns his on stage behaviour. I find this topic boring now but I do admit I found it fascinating when I first discovered Jarrett and his work in my mid-teens.
However, I do find criticism against his music interesting. Look at the Myspace of any up-and-coming jazz pianist and Jarrett, more often than not, will appear under the banner, influences. His talent and dedication to his music is awe-inspiring, and has obvious universal appeal, but is it possible to simply not dig it?
The late Ian Carr dedicated a closing chapter to this issue in his now dated biography of Jarrett, The Man And His Music. Carr’s approach when defending his subject is representative of the approach taken by Jarrett’s defenders worldwide; you’re either too stupid to geddit, or you don’t want to geddit!
Here is an article Garry Giddins wrote in 1977. Giddins doesn’t geddit, but he is eloquent in his reasoning. It has one of the most alluring titles I’ve ever read for a jazz criticism, Keith Jarrett: Virtuosity Is Not Enough.
Below is a review of Dark Intervals. It’s a typical example of the sort of review Carr discusses in his book, where the critic can’t help but have a little personal slight at Jarrett the man, rather than the music.
Funny thing, hindsight. At the time I’m sure Michael Tucker wasn’t alone in thinking that the short, sectional solo concert would not be the future for Jarrett, mere blips on the radar. And he was right, up until those Japanese concerts given in 2002. Radiance literally radiated the path Jarrett’s solo concerts were to take and it seems the likes of Dark Intervals and Staircase (Jarrett’s most under-championed recording) were early signs.
I’ve also uploaded an old article from Wire Magazine (before Wire became all engrossing). Don’t Shoot The Pianist. Again, title-wise, not bad. This is below the words.
I use to have a musical love affair with Jarrett, but now we’re just friends. I do geddit, I think, even Spirits, Book Of Ways and that Gurdjieff doodling (However, Restoration Ruin?! I think that’s best left to Carr to defend).
By sure_nuff at 2011-10-14