JJ 09/72: Keith Jarrett – The Mourning Of A Star

Fifty years ago, Barry McRae thought Jarrett at his best in Ray Bryant mode but otherwise superficial and close to cocktail music. First published in Jazz Journal September 1972


Jarrett is a player who seems to work on several emotional levels. At his most powerful he is an impressive pianist and in his earlier days with the Charles Lloyd Quintet he was often the most authoritative voice. At other times he is capable of sounding rather superficial and this unfortunately is the impression he gives throughout most of this record.

On Standing Outside, where the in­fluence of Ray Bryant is apparent, during the reflective examination he makes of Trust and in the rather churchy All I Want, there are signs of true in­volvement.

Elsewhere, however, he is less impressive and while Interlude No 3 and Laments show us the gentler side of his personality, they veer dangerously near to the cocktail lounge. The rest are rather undistinguished and Traces again confirms that he is no saxophonist.

Pleasing use is made of steel drums on Crooked Path and Paul Motian drums well throughout. Haden, however, is not an ideal bassist for Jarrett. He solos superbly on Crooked Path, Laments and Traces but on Standing Outside and Trust there is a distinct stylistic clash as his own ambitious lines become con­fused with the piano.

A trio album such as this needs to be very good to cap­ture the imagination and, while this is never poor, it lacks the quality of cohesion that is so essential to such a unit.

Follow The Crooked Path (Though It Be Longer); Interlude No. 3; Standing Outside; Everything That Lives Laments; Interlude No 1; Trust (21½ min) – All I Want; Traces Of You; The Mourning Of A Star; Interlude No. 2: Sympathy (22¼ min)
Keith Jarrett (pno/sop/tenor-recorder/steel-dm/conga); Charlie Haden (bs/steel-dm); Paul Motian (dm/steel-dm/conga). NYC, 1971.
(Atlantic K 40309 £2.09)