Keith Jarrett
The Köln Concert


5.0
classic

Review

by 231090 USER (1 Reviews)
January 17th, 2011 | 33 replies | 7,048 views


Release Date: 1975 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not setting the bar; showing only the sky is the limit.

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

Keith Jarrett is known as one of the best jazz musicians of all time, and this, the best-selling solo album in jazz history and the best-selling piano album, is the obvious reason why. Recorded at the Köln Opera House in 1975, this 66 minute solo piano concert manages to cover most every aspect of jazz improvisation to perfection.

This is some of the best jazz improvisation you will ever hear. Actually, I think that whether you like this album or not tells whether you like improv jazz or not. Keith Jarrett has skills. I mean, hearing this masterpiece of more than an hour's worth of continuous, lush music, it is hard to believe that every note is spontaneous. Jarrett always seems one step ahead; being able to improvise over a two-chord vamp for 8 minutes while still keeping the listener hooked in emotionally; perfectly balancing focus on rhythmic figures, and meditation (at times, bordering to virtuoso self-oscillation) on droning harmonies and moody grooves.

Jarrett opens the concert by quoting the melody of the signal bell in the Köln Opera, which, very fittingly, is normally used to announce the beginning of a concert to patrons. From here on, he fluently pecks around various advanced harmonies, recalling his efforts from fusion-jazz, before diving into 12 minutes of extensive improvisation over a two-chord vamp. It is very trance-inducing but then again, the music is always moving and evolving; even when the foundation that is the bass seems repetitive, there is constantly little variations, which is truly impressive to witness, and so, even though it may at times seem mad and self-oscillating repetitive, you never doubt Jarrett’s genius nor the fact that you will be able to finally see the big picture of something that is purely spontaneous. I mean, the really impressive thing about The Köln Koncert is the feeling of an hour-long improvisation as being something meticulously planned because everything fits so perfectly into a whole.

The shear thought of all of this being improvised is impressive enough to leave you breathless, especially because it's not only flawlessly executed; it is also full of personality. This album makes it obvious why Keith Jarrett is not only considered one of the absolute greatest jazz musicians of his own era but as one of jazz music's most outstanding representatives.


user ratings (76)
Chart.
4.4
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
Manic_
January 17th 2011



447 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this is an amazing album, i'm surprised it didn't have a review before

cool review. there's a typo in the last paragraph, i think you mean to say thought not though

vanderb0b
January 17th 2011



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album is mind-blowing. Still hard to believe that this stuff is improvised. Review is very nice too.

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 17th 2011



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

no way I was gonna review this too! I probably still will.

This is one of my favourite albums.

Jethro42
January 17th 2011



12070 Comments


Keith Jarrett is a pianist I almost like as much as Chick Corea and it says a lot, so I'll give it a shot. Very good 1st review! Pos'd

231090
January 17th 2011



20 Comments


It's not the easiest thing for me to review in english as my vocabulary isn't that extensive, so thank you for showing me some love, guys

Typo corrected by the way. Thanks, manic.

Looking forward to reading your review, Keelan. This album needs more attention for sure!

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 17th 2011



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah there are a couple of typos, ie. "trance-educing" should "trance-inducing". But review is pretty solid otherwise. Have a pos

couldwinarabbit
January 17th 2011



6996 Comments


2 of my favourite unknown albums ever are both on sputnik today.

pos.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2011



14886 Comments


i listened to like half of the first song and it was really boring

Manic_
January 17th 2011



447 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

perhaps dwelling into something more accessible would help

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 17th 2011



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I don't know how you could find this boring

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2011



14886 Comments


i know that this guy is hugely talented and the point of some of it--right down to the instrumentation--is how he does so much with so little but idk

it sounded like someone noodling on two chords for a really long time and sorry bros twas just boring

liledman
January 17th 2011



3817 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah this is great stuff, reminded me i need to listen again.

Bitchfork
February 24th 2011



7584 Comments


love improv so on my wishlist

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2011



14886 Comments


meh this is one where i'm just like "yeah he's really great and i can see how influential this would be and impressive" but as an album i cant be bothered to listen to it

Bitchfork
February 25th 2011



7584 Comments


seems like my sort of thing tbh

LegendofPittman
March 15th 2011



2938 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just stumbled across this album for the first time today, this looks amazing.

couldwinarabbit
March 15th 2011



6996 Comments


ya it really is

Chrisjon89
March 20th 2011



2976 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is unbelieveably good. Mind blowing that someone could sit at a piano for over an hour and improvise and not bore the shit out of me.

He obviously digs what he was doing too judging from some of the noises he makes.

Digging: Elizabeth Rose - Elizabeth Rose

231090
May 9th 2011



20 Comments


Hehe, yeah, it's funny how he is hearing the music for the first time as he plays it; sighing when something's not quite right and cheering when everything clicks.

WeepingBanana
August 29th 2011



9901 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

shit finally listening to this

i'm about halfway through the first song. really good stuff



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