A Marvelous Documentary about Keith Jarrett & Improvisation
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 05/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""There's never been a time when improvisation was given the respect it deserves. By virtue of the holistic quality of it, it takes everything to do it. It takes real time, no editing possible. It takes your nervous system to be on alert for every possible thing in a way that cannot be said for any other kind of music." -- Keith Jarrett
This wonderful documentary is all about improvisation, and particularly the kind of improvisation the superb jazz pianist Keith Jarrett does. It was made with the full cooperation of Jarrett and there are many minutes of conversation with him as well as with such collaborators as Manfred Eicher, Jack de Johnette, Gary Peacock, his brother Scott, his wife Roseanne, Chick Corea, Gary Burton and many more. Interspersed are many performance clips going back to the very beginning of his career (and including some scenes from his childhood) right up to the present. His ordeal with chronic fatigue syndrome in the mid-1990s is touched upon (but, not surprisingly, given Jarrett's reticence about personal matters, not dwelt upon). There is a ten-minute uninterrupted clip from a concert by his Standards Trio (Jarrett, de Johnette, Peacock). There are also clips of the Köln Concert, concerts with Jan Garbarek (particularly gorgeous), with Miles Davis, and many others. Jarrett comes across as a hugely intelligent and deeply thoughtful man who is nonetheless humble in the face of his talent.
Sound PCM Stereo; Running time 84 minutes, plus 42 minutes of extras. Subtitles in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish.
Strongly recommended to all fans of this amazing artist.
Brendan W. Burns | Boston, MA | 07/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is a nice Biography of Keith Jarrett's musical life with good interviews from his contemporaries and collaborators, and some valuable footage of his performances. The only drawback is in it's title: "Art of Improvisation." This led me to believe that the DVD would talk about how he improvises what he does to prepare, etc. I wasn't expecting a "how-to" video, or a clinic video, but I was a little disappointed that it was just a bio that I could have seen on A&E (I would have rented it if I knew that). I've read & listened to interviews where he talks more about his playing and improvisation. This DVD should have been titled: "A Life of Improv.""
Correction(s) ? - No Koln concert footage here
oregonian | Kingston, NY USA | 06/19/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with essentially all of the currently-posted reviews here, but I feel compelled to correct that review which states that this video contains Koln concert footage. It does not. It does contain short little clips of KJ from around that same time period, and maybe that's just fine (?). So...nobody who is intensely captivated by the Koln concert should rush to buy this to see footage from that magical performance...but they should rush to buy this just because KJ is many things: megalomaniac, eccentric genius, intolerant prima donna, and, oh by the way, gifted, brilliant figure of real substance in the somewhat barren landscape of current jazz."
A Study of Keith Jarrett - Part II
Rebecca Johnson | Washington State | 02/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are few musicians who have intrigued me as much as Keith Jarrett. His music is stunningly beautiful all while capturing the heart and awakening the soul. The first time I watched him play the piano (Last Solo 1984), it was quite the experience. He is a musician in motion and doesn't sit still for a moment.
In this 2005 illuminating discussion on Keith Jarrett's life, he has mellowed and yet still retains his true love for improvisation. There is an extended interview and extra interviews. Keith Jarrett is seen blissfully jamming with Miles Davis and you can almost say both were in heaven when playing on the same stage. They connected and influenced each other all while seeking to understand their outstanding talents.
How does Keith Jarrett explain his "art of improvisation." He truly seems to live the experience and can't explain how he accomplishes such excellence, except that he is fully focused in the moment, almost channeling music. The musicians interviewed from the Trio also seem to express ideas about the magical qualities of how they produce beauty through a spontaneous fusion of talent.
Not only does this DVD explain how musicians think, it explores how they struggle to achieve greatness even in the face of being human. When Keith Jarrett became ill he struggled to play the piano, but managed to create one of the most sublime and romantic CDs I've ever heard. The soul comforting elements in "Melody at Night" are enhanced by the story that unfolds in this journey of his life. We meet his wife, see how concerts evolve and there is a short "Trio" concert.
One of my friends is madly in love with Keith Jarrett's music and I plan to listen to as much as I can. He recently went to a concert and I am left to dream that one day I'll see a live concert too. The Trio is relaxing to listen to, but I think just watching Keith Jarrett play alone on a stage with just a piano is enlightening. By watching him play I have learned a great deal about music in a short amount of time. Watching his interviews gives insight into the heart of a musician who is tuned into the magic of creation and almost seems to channel beauty.
~The Rebecca Review "
J. Palsmeier | Louisville, Ky. USA | 08/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't think Keith does things like this often. I'm so glad he has done this documentary. Jazz listeners will learn about one of our most treasured artists in his own words, how he began, what his career was like, and where he is now. For jazz players, there is the added dimension of learning about group interaction and individual improvising from a master. Don't hesitate--buy this!"