Here we have an astounding live release from ECM Records of the Keith Jarrett Trio at the NDR Funkhaus in Hamburg, Germany in 1972. With three legendary players in Jarrett (piano, soprano sax, flute, percussion), Charlie Haden (double bass), and Paul Motian (drums, percussion), you just know before popping this one on that classy, expert musicianship is going to be the end result, and that's precisely the case through 6 magical pieces of soaring, at times avant-garde jazz. The original recording was part of a German radio broadcast that took place on the first European tour for the trio, and it's been recently remixed from the original analog source material by Manfred Eicher in Oslo in July of 2014, oddly enough, the day after Haden's death. In true ECM fashion, the sound quality is stellar, as one would expect.
Mostly filled with extended Jarrett compositions, Hamburg '72 bristles with energy, the quieter moments just as satisfying as the more raucous, noisy explorations. "Rainbow" kicks things off with some beautiful piano melodies from Jarrett, before things take on some swing with Motian's groove laden cymbal work. Haden's leathery double bass lines undercut the darker "Everything That Lives Laments", as Jarrett's flute soars and Motian's chimes & percussion adds an alluring effect, all eventually giving way to mysterious piano cascades from Keith. The leader pulls out his sax for the adventurous, near free-jazz of "Piece for Ornette", a complex ripper that is perhaps the wildest song in the set, as Jarrett zig-zags, squonks, and bleats over Motian's tricky fills & Haden's steadfast plucking. For "Take Me Back", the trio settle back into a somewhat bluesy, more straightforward jazz groove, with Jarrett's sense for catchy melodies coming to the forefront, and the brief "Life , Dance" contains some intricate rhythms over which Jarrett's fingers craft some charming, intoxicating passages. Haden's bass solo in this piece is a precursor to his lengthy original "Song for Che", another daring track that features the bassist's sinewy lead lines, with Motian rumbling in the background and Jarrett's sax screaming for supremacy. Through many twists & turns, Jarrett's piano eventually comes back into the fray, and the trio sweep the audience off their feet with a grand finale featuring multiple percussion and nimble bass lines. The roaring of the audience at the conclusion tells it all...
It's truly wonderful music from start to finish, performed by three musicians at the top of their game. ECM has done a great job on this release, as not only does the recording sound spectacular, but the booklet that comes with the CD features many black & white photos from the concert, all if which will be a must see for fans. It's a live album that any jazz lover will need in their collection.
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2) Everything That Lives Laments
3) Piece for Ornette
4) Take Me Back
5) Life Dance
6) Song for Che