Keith Jarrett: Trio Yesterdays

By: Ron Hart

Legendary jazz pianist Keith Jarrett continues to deliver classic live material from his 2001 tour with his longtime trio with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette with the release of Yesterdays (released January 27 on ECM). Culled from a Tokyo performance in April of '01, this jubilant set marks the fourth live album from this tour, augmented by a heavy concentration on the standards the trio peppered throughout their epic sets. They don't call 'em the "Standards Trio" for nothing and Yesterdays is a wonderful display of how they take these chestnuts from the Great American Songbook and literally make them their own through seamless interplay that seems to push their respectively God-like chops beyond any perceived boundaries of time and melody set by previous piano-led trios in recent memory.

Some of the songs featured on Yesterdays have appeared on previous Standards Trio sets, notably their stunning take on the Rodgers and Hart gem "You Took Advantage Of Me," which appeared on 2007's My Foolish Heart, a collection documenting the trio's July 2001 performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival, as well as "You've Changed," which also made an appearance on 2004's The Out-of-Towners, and Charlie Parker's "Scrapple In The Apple," which featured on 2003's Up for It: Live in Juan-Les-Pins. However, like any great live group, no two versions performed in concert are exactly the same, and such is the case for these renditions on Yesterdays, which seem to be led more by Peacock than Jarrett, actually.

As for the stuff you haven't heard yet, this set contains some downright killer, kinetic takes on such choice standards as "Strollin'" and Dizzy Gillespie's "Shaw ‘Nuff," where Jarrett, Peacock and DeJohnette nail the pop, swing and harmonic complexity of the original arrangements while driving the songs into the group's own unique improvisational territory. And the ballads on here, particularly the back-to-back album closers "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" and "Stella by Starlight," are just about as lovely a pair of performances ever heard from the Standards Trio. If Jarrett and co. were able to get this much material to release from 2001 one can only imagine the wealth of new recordings that will soon emerge from this outstanding trio's exhaustive touring output throughout the rest of the 00's.

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[Published on: 4/8/09]

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zachn00b starstarstarstarstar Wed 4/8/2009 09:33PM
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Keith Jarrett is the man...great free jazz pianist...hollingsworth lists him as one of his main influences...can't wait to hear these shows, Jarrett is a beast!

phunkyjedi08 starstarstarstarstar Fri 4/10/2009 03:29PM
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Jack DeJohnette may be my favorite living musician

yemmw Sat 4/11/2009 09:03AM
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if youre a hippie who ikes the more adventurous sides of phish and the grateful dead, and youre not afraid of long passages of dissonance, then you NEED to buy Always Let Me Go by the standards trio. it is a full two-disc album of pure, brilliant improvisation. imagine the koln concert with drums and bass.