Keith Jarrett Agenda Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., April 4, 8 p.m. 2012

In the years since pianist Keith Jarrett signed with ECM Records in 1971, a significant part of his output has been improvised solo performances—most famously the 1975 release The Köln Concert—and as such a significant part of his reputation rests on that sort of playing. These days totally improvised concerts are a dime a dozen, but for Jarrett they remain ritualistic journeys—as he proved with last year's impressive Rio (recorded in April 2011 in Rio de Janeiro), he continues to approach improvisation with such singular rigor that his spontaneous creations consistently sound like exquisitely crafted compositions. The double disc opens with a stormy, atonal rumination, in keeping with his usual MO: as he told Jazzwise magazine last year, "I always have to start out by cleaning the air of any influences." But then he starts to move from one distinct piece to the next, from gospel to postbop to almost classical, creating melodies and structures on the spot—and whether you like the results or not, you can't argue with his passion or his inventiveness. Jarrett is notoriously cranky about the conditions at his performances—he's walked out on a concert (at least temporarily) because audience members were coughing, and he threatened to cut short another show if photographers didn't turn off their cameras—but after four decades of sitting down to a blank canvas and pouring out a unique kind of genius, he's earned the right to act like a diva every now and then. —Peter Margasak

Price: $40-$70

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