40th anniversary of Keith Jarrett's Köln concert!
One cold winter midnight in Germany, a man sat inconspicuously at a piano in front of a crowd. 3.5 million album sales later, this concert is jazz treasure: Keith Jarrett, Live in Köln.
More than just a jazz concert, Jarrett became a musical slam poet with verbal diarrhoea, a neo-Moses upon the Mount: a man capable of sending a message of biblical proportions. Equal parts joyous and uplifting as it is dark and brooding, Jarrett’s hands dance along the piano, ballerinas spurred on by some enchanted drunken curse.
The eccentric flow back and forth exemplifies the cliché of the music painting a picture in your mind; it is a journey of mental stimulation as much as sonic. He may spend fifteen minutes staggering around the same A minor chord, but Jarrett never stagnates: an unerring performance, all the more impressive knowing that it is completely improvised.
Critical analysis of the profundity of Jarrett’s sonic mastery may be warranted and completely valid, but the truth is that this music is so open to interpretation that letting it speak for itself is the best option: a man, a piano, and the universal language.