on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2018 30 Jan

„From 1987 (and even more ancient times)“

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | Comments off


I suppose there are many quite different admirers of Keith Jarrett: most jazz, some classical, and, well,  generalists. This record will appeal to all. There is a fourth group that will be fascinated: professionals with an interest in unusual instruments and recording techniques.

The recording is super-clean, and makes no „earlier than thou“ concessions to the clavichord as historical instrument, i.e. no low level mastering (a clavichord is quiet, they say, so it should be barely audible), no emphasis on the clunking of the keybed (clavichords are „early“, they claim, so let’s make them sound primitive). Here every string can be heard, loud and clear, and the microphones are not straddling the keys. There appear to be two tracks of improvised playing, so well done that it blends into one „super clav“. The instrument(s) used appear to be single-strung, every string rings out true, there is none of the fuzziness of the museum specimens. It’s a new take on the species, and what a marvelous and expressive instrument this is!

With its guitar-like sonorities and expressiveness, it’s a keyboard player’s nirvana. I hope more keyboard players will discover it. The music itself is contemplative improv. A bit of the Koln concert in another dimension. It will speak to all of Jarrett’s fans who aren’t locked into record-bin categories. Some of the pieces have a baroque character, others a folk music simplicity that is disarming. A few are highly experimental, percussive, or oriental-sounding, a couple in-between – a sort of „reflections in the history of music“.

None of the music sounds contrived. He uses the full range of the instrument, with its note bending, great dynamic range and ability to pour out emotion. In some ways it makes me think of the great early Sandy Bull and John Fahey recordings. As to Jarrett’s occasionally audible humming and vocalizations, they indeed offer a glimpse into the composer-player’s mind, as someone said, into the „breathing“ that generates the piece, or that glues the two tracks together into that seamless whole.

It’s in a sense music for musicians, or for listeners who don’t mind glimpsing what goes on behind the scenes. It’s altogether an album for people who love all sorts of honest music, for whom it will be a frequent (evening?) companion.

If you have the original double vinyl, great, an audiophile recording of highest order. In March 2023, „Book Of Ways“ will get a double-cd reissue, and for all the good reasons – one being András Schiff playing Bach on the new and highly praised double-cd „Clavichord“! Anyways, it is a terrific instrument! 


(Frederic Randolph / remixed by Michael Engelbrecht)

This entry was posted on Dienstag, 30. Januar 2018 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Manafonistas | Impressum | Kontakt | Datenschutz