An intimate new disc by two of jazz’s most influential players, heard here with a programme of love songs and standards. “Jasmine” is the first recorded collaboration between Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden in more than thirty years. The last time they were together on record was on the live “Eyes of the Heart” disc, recorded 1976, a document from the final days of Jarrett’s great American Quartet (with Haden, Paul Motian and Dewey Redman), the group which also gave us the epochal “Survivors' Suite”.
“Jasmine” is music-making of quite different scale and intention. Much has changed in the music of both men in the interim, but not the quality of their commitment to it. Amongst other endeavours, Jarrett and Haden have each, separately, given renewed attention to the music of the Great American Songbook, Jarrett in his widely-admired “Standards” project with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, for instance, and Haden with his Quartet West.
Early in 2007 Jarrett was invited to contribute some reminiscences to a film documentary about Haden (Reto Caduff’s “Rambling Boy”). This led to some informal playing together, which both enjoyed greatly. Jarrett then invited Haden to come over to his home for four days of recording in March 2007
Keith Jarrett (from the liner notes): “This recording was done in my small studio. So it is direct and straightforward. I chose to use the American Steinway that really isn't at all in the best of shape, yet I have this strange connection with it, and it is better for a kind of informality and slight funkiness that was going to work with the music. With a choice of songs this good, it was hard not to become engaged right away. We did not rehearse per se, but went over chords when necessary.
... Over close to three years we lived with these tapes, talked a lot about them, disputed over choices, but eventually I found Charlie to be the most remarkable and sensitive helper in getting this finally assembled. I wanted only the distilled essence of what we had, and it took some time to wean ourselves from going for hip solos or unevenly played tunes (even though they had wonderful things inside them).
This is spontaneous music made on the spot without any preparation save our dedication throughout our lives that we won't accept a substitute. These are great love songs played by players who are trying, mostly, to keep the message intact. I hope you can hear it the way we did.”