Here we have another release to celebrate the 70th birthday of piano legend Keith Jarrett, the 1984 recording of Samuel Barber, Piano Concerto op. 38 on June 3, 1984 at Saarbrucken, and Béla Bartók, Piano Concerto No. 3, from January 30th, 1985 in Tokyo, along with a brief encore at the latter, the original piece "Nothing But the Truth". For the Saarbrucken suite, Jarrett and his piano are accompanied by the Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies, and it's a marvelously exciting three piece movement totaling roughly 25-minutes. Jarrett's gymnastic piano lines weave in and out of majestic, powerful swells from the orchestra, especially in the first movement, while the second takes a darker, more brooding approach, before the finale explodes with plenty of bombast.
The New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Kazuyoshi Akiyama, provides a willing partner on the Tokyo recording, lending sweeping melodies alongside Jarrett on "Allegretto" and ominous, almost pained teardrops on the emotional "Adagio Religioso". Jarrett's deft touch is more tranquil in this set as compared to the Barber suite, but no less masterful. It all comes to a raging climax on the thrilling "Allegro Vivace", the vibrant third movement, as the strings and piano reach higher and higher till they shoot into the heavens. The solo piece "Nothing But a Dream" takes the listener out in gorgeous style, as Jarrett's knack for creating lush, poignant melodies is in abundance here on this final track.
Keith Jarrett's career in jazz has seen him go in many directions both as leader and sideman, and this latest release from the vaults shows yet another side to his many talents. Classical and jazz lovers alike would be well advised to seek this one out.
Samuel Barber, Piano Concerto op. 38
Béla Bartók, Piano Concerto No. 3
Keith Jarrett, Tokyo Encore
1. Allegro appassionato
2. Canzone. Moderato
3. Allegro molto
5. Adagio religioso
6. Allegro vivace
7. Tokyo Encore: Nothing But A Dream