Keith Jarrett plays London and Dublin

Pianist Keith Jarrett follows the issue in 2011 of his solo album Rio (ECM) with his first London solo performance since 2008 and his first appearance in Ireland in over three decades

Keith Jarrett plays a rare solo concert at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on 25 February 2013.

The concert is the first solo Jarrett performance in London since an appearance at the Royal Festival Hall in 2008, which itself marked the first time Jarrett had played solo in London for 18 years. There were fewer than 30 Jarrett solo concerts in the decade up to 2009 although he has given as many as 15 in the past two or three years.

Since Jarrett began playing completely improvised solo piano concerts in the 1970s, his solo appearances have been hotly anticipated. His landmark 1975 Köln Concert was entirely improvised and went on to become the best-selling piano album in jazz history (over 3.5 million units) after being issued by German label ECM. The label has documented many more of Jarrett's solo performances, most recently a Rio de Janeiro concert in 2011.

Earlier performances such as the Köln concert were notable for being continuous improvisations, but since 2002 Jarrett has revised his approach, focusing more often on shorter pieces. He says: "I continued to find a wealth of music inside this open format, stopping whenever the music told me to." Regarding style, one commentator has pointed out that over time the connection between Jarrett's concerts and jazz "has often become tenuous, yet Jarrett's solo concerts, with the foregrounding of melody and the continual building, and relinquishing, of structure, are also removed from 'free improvisation' as a genre. Jarrett's solo work is effectively its own idiom."

Whatever the content, the "overwhelming sense of ritual behind any solo concert of Keith Jarrett" (New York Times) will no doubt prime concert-goers for another very special experience.

Booking enquiries can be made at the Southbank Centre website or by phone to 0844 875 0073. Mr Jarrett also plays in Dublin on 21 February, the concert marking his first appearance in Ireland for 30 years.

Sally Evans-Darby
Photo by Tim Motion

post a comment