Label: ECM, 2018
Personnel - Keith Jarrett: piano; Gary Peacock: double bass; Jack DeJohnette: drums.
The Standards Trio consists of the incredibly talented Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, and Jack DeJohnette, on piano, bass, and drums, respectively. Together, they show off an insuperable communication on stage, playing almost with their eyes closed and letting their creativity to be guided by pure instinct. These respected bandleaders play together for 40 years, and still evince the same gusto for exploration, rendering tunes from The Great American Songbook, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane, among others.
After The Fall, a double-disc album, was recorded live in a special concert that signaled the return of the pianist from a forced two-year interruption in his brilliant career due to chronic fatigue syndrome. The gig took place in 1998 at the NJPAC in Newark and the pianist himself expressed surprise when heard how well the music worked.
Possessing an incalculable knowledge of the jazz history and being savvy enough to embrace freedom and play these songs backward or in 50 different ways, the trio opens the 4-track disc one with a nearly 16-minute version of “The Masquerade Is Over”. Taking the plunge with a sensational piano overture, the song is a lesson on melody, harmony, expression, emotion, and technique. What could we expect more from music? When the bass and drums are incorporated, paces and moods are re-defined and the colors become even brighter and intense.
Dazzling rhythmic ideas flow from Jarrett’s nimble fingers on Parker’s “Scrapple From The Apple”, an explicit reawaken of bebop carrying that refined swinging affinity that leaves nobody indifferent. Peacock delivers a prodigious, woody solo while DeJohnette trades eights with his associates, drawing mainly elegance from his stunning chops.
The remaining tunes on the first CD are “Old Folks”, a ballad that breathes serenity with heart-rending melodies, on-spot bass lines, and shimmering brushwork, and the fully-explored “Autumn Leaves”, which gains a fresh perspective as it is designed with atmospheric passages and seasoned with the savor of Latin by the end.
Disc two comprises eight diversified tracks. There's another bebop incursion with “Bouncing With Bud”, a nice and bluesy swing ride with Sonny Rollins’ “Doxy” (DeJohnette’s drumming is a true delight) and Pete La Roca's “One For Majid”, affectionate ballads such as “I’ll See You Again”, “When I Fall in Love”, and Paul Desmond’s “Late Lament”, in which Jarrett grants his solo a laid-back heave, and a steamy rendition of Coltrane’s “Moment’s Notice”, here packed with kinetic sequences of notes.
Although “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” can be seen out of context at this time, there’s plenty of groove attached, with the pianist exhibiting his impressive and effortless capacity to create well-conjugated melodies and rhythms.
With a trio that has nothing more to prove and plays totally from the heart, we can only expect wonders. After The Fall is a record of unhesitating steps that renew our appetite for jazz standards and other known songs.
01 (CD1) - The Masquerade Is Over ► 02 (CD2) - Doxy ► 07 (CD2) – Moment’s Notice