Jarrett’s newest release of solo piano, recorded live at the Gran Teatro La Fenice opera house in Venice, Italy, continues in the style which he is best known for, that being incredibly expressive and energetic performance that is hard to put into words. Over the two discs, parts I to VIII explore all manner of approaches, from clear structures and tonality to the most complex and dissonant improvisation. In addition, there are three covers and another original titled “Blossom”, and all were recorded live in front of an audience, 19 July, 2006.
There are wonderful moments of delicacy and thoughtfulness, particularly in “Part IV”, in which Jarrett builds a simple melody to a powerful and dynamic crescendo. On the second disc, “Part VI” offers a dark and brooding atmosphere that progresses in a cyclic pattern as the dynamics ebb and flow. In contrast, “Part VIII” is a 12-bar blues in which Jarrett intertwines his virtuosic improvisations and expressive vocalisations, to great effect.
The three covers are well chosen, and Jarrett adds to each his own interpretations. The Gilbert and Sullivan track, “The Sun Whose Rays”, is played with an expert gentleness that brings out the blissful harmonies. On the other hand, “Stella by Starlight” is performed at great speed, with his right hand tracing out the melody while the left experiments harmonically with a wild and sporadic groove.
While certainly not always easy to listen to, Jarrett commands the piano with a great mastery, and the energy he is able to create in a solo performance is outstanding.
CD1: Part I; Part II; Part III; Part IV; Part V (44.08)
CD2: Part VI; The Sun Whose Rays; Part VII; Part VIII; My Wild Irish Rose; Stella by Starlight; Blossom (52.10)
Jarrett (p). Venice, 2006.