The history of Keith Jarrett’s improvised solo piano performances goes back more than 30 years. His albums, such as the now legendary “Solo Concerts, Bremen-Lausanne”, and “Köln Concert”, were recordings that had an enormous impact on contemporary jazz. As Jarrett said at the time: “Solo Concerts was intended to be an injection of the strength of acoustic music, of air, of strings of breath into the bloodstream of people who buy records.” It was this and more. “The Köln Concert”, of course, was to become one of the best-selling ‘jazz’ albums of all time, as well as the best-selling solo piano album in any genre, an album whose popularity has never waned.
When incapacitated by illness in the late 1990s it was via the solo piano medium that Jarrett made his return, with the home-recorded “The Melody At Night, With You”, an album of songs stripped to their essential core, which found a broad resonance with the general public.
Since his return to the concert platform, he has strictly rationed the number of solo performances: there have been less than thirty in the last decade. Their status as special events is underlined by the highly-focussed music on such recordings as “Radiance”, “The Carnegie Hall Concert” and the DVD “Tokyo Solo”.
Now “Testament” further documents the exceptional nature of Keith Jarrett’s solo music in the 21st century.
From Jarrett’s liner notes: “The concert went on and, though the beginning was a dark, searching, multi-tonal melodic triumph, by the end it somehow became a throbbing, never-to-be-repeated, pulsing rock band of a concert (unless it was a church service, in which case, Hallelujah!).”