New Jarrett Box Chronicles Solo Concerts from 1996 Italian Tour


Keith Jarrett

(Photo: Rose Anne Colavito)

Just in time for the holidays comes a perfect gift for Keith Jarrett fans. On Nov. 18, ECM will release A Multitude Of Angels, a previously unissued set of recordings chronicling a series of solo concerts held in Italy in October 1996. The four-CD set documents four nights of performances from Modena, Ferrara, Turin and Genoa.

Part of a string of live solo recordings he made after La Scala (recorded in 1995 in Milan), A Multitude of Angels marks the end of Jarrett’s self-described “first period” of the solo concerts, a phase documented on ECM recordings from the Bremen-Lausanne set to Sun Bear Concerts.

The box set also marks a significant moment in the development of Jarrett’s artistic process, denoting the conclusion of the pianist’s experiments with extremely long-form improvisation, in which concerts consisted of two continuous sets. As he explains in the album’s liner notes, “These were the last concerts I played having no breaks within each set.”

After these concerts, two years would elapse before Jarrett played in public again, a result of his diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At home, he recorded The Melody At Night With You in 1997, a solo meditation on pure melody, and returned to the stage with his “Standards” trio—featuring Gary Peacock on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums—at the end of 1998.

By the time he had reintegrated solo performances into his repertoire—recording the live album Radiance in 2002—Jarrett’s format had changed, with sets now composed primarily of sequenced improvised pieces.

For collectors of Jarret’s work, A Multitude of Angels is therefore an essential addition, as it signifies the closing of an important chapter in the pianist’s career. The recordings, which were captured by Jarrett himself on a DAT machine, boast a pristine audio quality, making for a clean and immersive listening experience.

“Jazz is ever present here, alongside my deep closeness with classical music (modern and ancient, Ives and Bach),” Jarrett said. “I can only hope you can have the extraordinary experience I had upon re-discovery of this music.”

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March 2021
Ethan Iverson
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