Keith Jarrett / Charlie Haden: Jasmine (2010)
(Rambling Boy) brought Jarrett together with the bassist for the first time since the dissolution of the pianist's much-heralded American Quartet. The two played for well over a decadefrom Jarrett's debut as a leader, Life Between the Exit Signs (Atlantic, 1967), through to the American Quartet's swan song, Survivor's Suite (ECM, 1979). Reuniting in 2007 for the filming of Rambling Boy, their relaxed rapport encouraged Jarrett to invited Haden to his home, and the result is this elegant collection of well-heeled standards, including "Body and Soul," "For All We Know" and "Where Can I Go Without You."
Participating in Reto Caduff's 2009 film about Charlie Haden
Over the course of three decades, much has changed, but some things have remained. Both players have largely become interpreters rather than composers, although Jarrett has rightfully argued that interpretation is composition. Still, their empathic approach to this ballad-heavy setonly the swinging Evans/Mann chestnut, "No Moon At All," comes close to breaking a sweatremains as profound as it was when they were collaborating regularly on original (and more left-of-center) music.
With no rehearsal other than, at most, running through a few changes, Jasmine's soundlike The Melody At Nightis more direct, more immediate than most of Jarrett's recent releases, recorded in larger concert halls. The dryness of the sound makes the warm but slightly funky tone of Jarrett's piano and deeply wooden timbre of Haden's bass feel particularly inviting. Recorded in Jarrett's small home studio, it feels like it was recorded in a living room, with both players at ease, turning a group of nine well-loved, well-known songs into informal conversations, where individual spotlights shine occasionally, but are far more often about gentle give-and-take, lyrical spontaneity and nothing-to-prove economy.
Critics of Jarrett' longstanding allegiance to solo and Standards Trio performances may be disappointed by this perhaps overdue foray outside those contexts, given the choice of material and renewal of a relationship that predates them. But they'd be missing the sublime beauty, elegant serenity and evocative resonance of Jasminean album that, like The Melody At Night, rests somewhere outside Jarrett's discography, yet simply couldn't have been made by anyone else.
Track Listing: For All We Know; Where Can I Go Without You; No Moon At All; One Day I'll Fly Away; Intro>I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life; Body and Soul; Goodbye; Don't Ever Leave Me.
Personnel: Keith Jarrett: piano; Charlie Haden: double-bass.
Record Label: ECM Records