Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Keith JARRET - Fort Yawuh 1973
This was Jarrett's first album for Impulse and the first with producer Ed Michel. (The record company would replace Michel with Edmond Edwards about three years later, prompting Jarrett to abandon Impulse and record exclusively for ECM.) Although this basic group had recorded several previous albums for Atlantic and Columbia, this was it's first live recording and the first to fully display the improvisational gifts of all the band members. This reissue is expanded and remixed. The first track, (If the) Misfits (Wear it) is an example of this band's fireworks. The opening pounding rhythms on the piano set up a feeling of tension. The statement of the melody sets up a great piano solo, followed by a tenor sax solo by Dewey Redman. This unedited version lengthens his solo by a couple of minutes and it's worth every second. The title song is next. Fort Yawuh is an anagram for Fourth Way, a concept Jarrett had run across in the writings of G I. Gurdjieff. Dewey Redman's solo on musette was overpowering on the original release and it is expanded here. The major addition to this track compared to the original lp is a lengthy, mysterious-sounding introduction, wherein Jarrett strums the piano strings. De Drums and Still Life, Still Life are presented just as they were in 1973. The first is a rhythmic workout for the whole band. (My best friend in grad school used to say that the introduction sounded like Proud Mary!) The second is one of Jarrett's most beautiful ballads. Oddly, this reissue still cuts off the tune in the middle of Charlie Haden's bass solo. The final track, Roads Travelled, Roads Veiled, Had first appeared on an Impulse live sampler in an excerpt about five minutes long. The entire 20 minute performance is here and it is magnificent. It includes Jarrett's finest recorded soprano sax solo. His technique is primitive compared to Dewey Redman (or even his son, Joshua), but its filled with soul and emotion. Special mention should be made of Paul Motian's drumming. His style and sound are unique in jazz, particularly his use of the tom-toms. This highly improvisational band was the perfect setting for his innovations to flower. Though some fans and critics prefer the so-called "Belonging" quartet, for my money this band was the more exciting and imaginative unit. This new edition of one of their finest albums is long overdue. However, it is a shame that there are no liner notes. All the musicians involved are still active and I find it hard to believe none of them could be persuaded to provide some comments on the music or background to the concerts at the Village Vanguard where it was recorded.
By Dan Cunningham.
On Fort Yawuh, Keith Jarrett is joined by Dewey Redman (tenor sax), Charlie Haden (bass), Paul Motian (drums), and Danny Johnson (percussion) to produce this set recorded live at the legendary Village Vanguard in New York City on February 24, 1973. About two minutes into "Fort Yawuh," Jarrett prepares the listener for a piano solo by announcing himself with quick and sharp keyboard jabs that evolve into spared and beautiful crescendos that before too long involve the soulful wails of Redman on the sax. The following song, "De Drums," is the one track that really swings on this album. Another long one, at 12 minutes in length, "De Drums" is much more focused on a steady and consistent rhythm that is established immediately by a smooth five-note bassline accented by the piano and shakers. Although describable as smooth and cool, this song has a palpable energy perhaps due to the construction of the bassline whose pauses give an enjoyable sense of suspense. A little more than five minutes into this song there is a thematic shift that speeds up the tempo and makes this title swing even more while involving Redman's sax and Motian's drum kit. Half past the eight-minute mark the tempo settles back down to its original drawl, and the song finishes with a lazy bop that makes this the standout track on the album. Fans of Jarrett's avant-garde liberalism will find "De Drums" to be the track most unlike the other four selections on this album. "Still Life, Still Life" is more like a ballad in that it's very slow, but it still maintains the structural freedom featured in the "Fort Yawuh," "(If the) Mysfits (Wear It)," and "Roads Traveled, Roads Veiled."
By Qa'id Jacobs.
Keith Jarrett- Piano, Percussion; Soprano Sax
Dewey Redman- Tenor Sax, Percussion; Chinese Musette, Clarinet
Charlie Haden- Bass
Paul Motian- Drums, Percussion
Danny Johnson- Percussion
A1. (If The) Misfits (Wear It) 13:10
A2. Fort Yawuh 10:55
B1. De Drums 11:57
B2. Still Life, Still Life 8:41