In 1983, at the suggestion of ECM head Manfred Eicher, Keith Jarrett asked bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette, with whom he had worked on Peacock's 1977 album Tales of Another, to record an album of jazz standards, simply titled Standards, Volume 1. Two more albums, Standards, Volume 2 and Changes, both recorded at the same session, followed soon after. The success of these albums and the group's ensuing tour, which came as traditional acoustic post-bop was enjoying an upswing in the early 1980s, led to this new Standards Trio becoming one of the premier working groups in jazz, and certainly one of the most enduring, continuing to record and tour for more than twenty-five years. The trio has recorded numerous live and studio albums consisting primarily of jazz repertory material.
The Jarrett-Peacock-DeJohnette trio also produced recordings that consist largely of challenging original material, including 1987's Changeless. Several of the standards albums contain an original track or two, some attributed to Jarrett, but most are group improvisations. The live recordings Inside Out and Always Let Me Go (both released in 2001) marked a renewed interest by the trio in wholly improvised free jazz. By this point in their history, the musical communication among these three men had become nothing short of telepathic, and their group improvisations frequently take on a complexity that sounds almost composed. The Standards Trio undertakes frequent world tours of recital halls (the only venues in which Jarrett, a notorious stickler for acoustics, will play) and is one of the few truly successful jazz groups to play both straight-ahead (as opposed to smooth) and free jazz.
A related recording, At the Deer Head Inn (1992), is a live album of standards recorded with Paul Motian replacing DeJohnette, at the venue in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania, 40 miles from Jarrett's hometown, where he had his first job as a jazz pianist. It was the first time Jarrett and Motian had played together since the demise of the American quartet sixteen years earlier.
Jarrett started on the piano when he was three, and by the time he was seven he had already played a recital. A child prodigy, Jarrett was a professional while still in grade school. In 1962, he studied at Berklee, and then started working in the Boston area with his trio. He moved to New York in 1965, and spent four months with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. As a member of the very popular Charles Lloyd Quartet (1966-1969), Jarrett traveled the world and became well-known; he also began doubling occasionally on soprano (which he would utilize through the 1970s). During 1969-1971, he was with Miles Davis' fusion group, playing organ and electric keyboards; Chick Corea was also in the band for the first year. Jarrett can be heard "battling" Corea throughout Davis' Live at the Fillmore, but is in more creative form on Live/Evil.
Remaining devoted to the acoustic piano, despite the contemporary fashion for the electronic keyboard, Jarrett continued to write music for his own group. He has also composed for larger numbers and has integrated existing classical music ensembles into his works, as he did with the American Brass Quintet and the string section of the Stuttgart Philharmonic on his double album In the Light His most popular albums are the
solo piano recordings Facing You, Solo Concerts, and The Koln Concert, which was the best-selling piano record in history as of 1995, according to the Keith Jarrett official website.
Jarrett’s reputation grew during the 1970s in Europe and the United States. His honors included a Guggenheim Fellowship for composition and being named Rolling Stone’s Jazz Artist of 1973 and Down Beat’s Composer and Pianist of the Year in 1975. Solo Concerts—recorded in 1974—was named record of the year by Down Beat, Stereo Review, Jazz Forum, Time and the New York Times. Jarrett began to split his time between his American quartet and the group of Scandinavian musicians—Jan Gabarek, Jo Christensen, and Palle Danieslsson—with whom he recorded Belonging. He brought them to New York in 1979 and sold out the venerable jazz club, the Village Vanguard, for five nights.
Recorded Live In Tokyo,July 25,1993 at Open Theatre East
Keith Jarrett (p)
Gary Peacock (b)
Jack DeJohnette (d)