Five Essential Keith Jarrett Albums To Mark His 75th Birthday

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Pianist Keith Jarrett turns 75 on May 8.

(Photo: ©Richard Termine/ECM Records)

Transcendent music is timeless. That’s the thought that comes to mind as fans around the globe mark Keith Jarrett’s 75th birthday.

Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on May 8, 1945, Jarrett has gained worldwide fame and produced a vast oeuvre of recorded work during his long career as a solo artist and bandleader.

His first feature in DownBeat appeared in the Oct. 10, 1974, issue, and over the decades, the 2014 NEA Jazz Masters fellowship recipient has appeared in the magazine dozens of times.

Below are five albums from Jarrett’s prolific catalog that we recommend for your listening pleasure in honor of this milestone anniversary.

The Köln Concert (1975): This widely acclaimed 1975 recording of a live solo improvisation is Jarrett’s best-known album. Sometimes the word masterpiece isn’t hyperbole.

The Survivors’ Suite (1977): This breathtaking release recorded in 1976 features Jarrett’s American Quartet: saxophonist Dewey Redman, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Paul Motian. Here, they unleash some magic.

Bye Bye Blackbird (1993): Jarrett’s longstanding trio with bassist Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette pays tribute to Miles Davis, who died 13 days before this heartfelt elegy was recorded in 1991.

Always Let Me Go (2002): Recorded live in Tokyo, this extraordinary double album by Jarrett’s trio sustains a heightened intensity through its sudden, mesmerizing melodic shifts.

The Carnegie Hall Concert (2006): Recorded live at the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, this solo-piano performance reminded the jazz world of Jarrett’s innate ability to connect with audiences—not to mention his unrivaled virtuosity. DB



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