Saturday, May 15, 2010

Music Notes -- Changes

The three songs on this disc can be found on a really fine boxed set called Setting Standards: New York Sessions. The other two discs contain Jarrett's trio in their first forays interpreting standards from the Great American Songbook. This part, however, is all improvisation. Jarrett had already made quite a name for himself doing this as a solo act, and a couple listens through this disc will show why these three almost seemed destined to play together for going on 30 years.

In fact, the music is so good, and the playing so accomplished, one might get the impression that these tracks were composed and arranged ahead of time and that the musicians had been working together a long time before recording.

Starting slow, and building to a gorgeous crescendo, “Flying, Part 1” sails through the speakers.  Each section of the tune glides easily from one moment to the next. Jarrett’s piano, of course, is the highlight, but his band mates (Gary Peacock on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums) aren’t just following him around on the tune. They are easily part of the making of the music.

“Flying, Part 2” sounds like a cross between an old fashioned jam session and a rousing medley of well worn classics. I keep thinking that Jarrett, with his humming and stomping, is having a church service in his head. Because there seem to be more solos, this song doesn’t cohere as smoothly as the first part, but the result is pretty satisfying nonetheless.

The disc closes with the meditative “Prism.” Even when the tempo picks up and DeJohnette and Peacock’s presence in the tune becomes more pronounced, both musicians and listeners seem transfixed. I didn’t want it to end.

Like a good book, Changes is a disc that is likely to seem too short and almost demand repeated hearings. It seems new and more beautiful with each play.

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