Nice songs, interesting background story. But 1 hour of solo piano playing ends up just being background music.
The Köln Concert is a live recording of solo piano improvisations performed by Keith Jarrett at the Opera House in Cologne (German: Köln) on 24 January 1975. The double-vinyl album was released in 1975 by ECM. It became the best-selling solo album in jazz history and the best-selling piano album with sales of around 4 million. According to music critic Tom Hull, the album "cemented his reputation as the top pianist of his generation".
Nice songs, interesting background story. But 1 hour of solo piano playing ends up just being background music.
Wow, amazing! As I make my way through these 1,001 albums, I think I will look back at Jarett’s Koln Concert as the one that finally got me to appreciate this genre. I mean I didn’t need a class in music theory or have to read a critic’s detailed explanation on why I should enjoy this. I was just blown away by the music which transported me to a place where I could see this artist on stage painting brilliant scenes with his music. Really this performance has rewired my neurons to fire differently now. Bonus note how I appreciated the record producer’s decision to leave in the applause so the listener will know that the audience knew they were witnessing a magical special moment. Bravo!
I think this album really represents something unique - a special piece of music you should hear before you die because of it's interesting story, not just because of it being an influential album. Would love to see more good, but novel recordings included in this list that have fun stories like this one. You could probably get rid of some repetitive beatles and bowie albums to fit in interesting things like this instead. || Moaning throughout was hilarious, and the music is great. but itis the story, the ridiculous circumstances of the performance and improv, and novelty of it all that bumps this up from a 3.5 to a 5 in my eyes.
This is another prime example of the stuff I enjoy seeing pop up on this project. I have never heard of OR heard this, and the story behind it is simply amazing. In a series of mistakes, Keith Jarrett was left with an incredibly subpar rehearsal piano to perform on for a sold out audience, versus a very specifically requested grand piano befitting a piano master. What resulted was an hour of pure piano improvisation; that's right, Jarrett switched everything up and composed and played on the fly, all in a way that would fit the rehearsal piano's limited capabilities and allow for the best possible output. All the while, Jarrett can be heard occasionally stomping and vocalizing along with the work; you can tell that he feels what he's playing. This album speaks to overcoming hurdles, being present in the moment, and being open to spontaneity; a variety of chaotic events led to this and it could have resulted in a cancellation or even a performance ruined by the limitations of a specific instrument. But instead, these events occurred, Jarrett agreed to play, and his musical genius flowed, allowing for this unique masterwork to happen, something that would not be readily replicated even if one tried. I feel like the genre label of "jazz" on this album is a bit misleading. While I definitely hear aspects of jazz, this also resonates with some very classical solo piano qualities. I don't want my rating to be misconstrued with the idea that I think classical music is the best thing I've heard on this project. While I do really enjoy classical piano music, I don't regularly seek it out, and it's by no means an absolute "favorite" or "preferred" genre. Rather, my rating comes from now knowing that this album is 100% improvisation on a shoddy instrument; it is a creative breakthrough birthed from chaos. This album very clearly communicates an undeniably masterful craftsmanship and an inspiring message of spontaneous human creativity. This really is something that people could benefit from hearing before they die, and I couldn't possibly rate it any lower.
that was actually really cool just a dude messing around with the piano for an hour i don’t know if i’ll be listening to it again very soon but i still really appreciated it for what it was to think this dude could create such beautiful pieces off the top of his head just blows my mind i love his talent and i think that album is very special to me 10/10 - no complaints, just a great album
I've heard of this concert before, pretty sure I read about it in a book, but I can't remember exactly where! Really fascinating story though, that such an engaging concert was performed under such difficult and ridiculous circumstances. Could have done without the moaning throughout, but maybe that's part of his style? Plus when you're improvising and suffering from back pain I won't fault somebody for making odd noises
If this was a footballer, it'd be Dimitar Berbatov during his career wind down at Fulham.
To simplify…a musician with a bad back who was hungry, slightly grumpy and playing a piano that wasn’t even the one he asked for and was substandard at that, improvised this piano solo. I’m blown away by it and the talent of the musician. I wouldn’t term this as Jazz, just an absolutely beautiful piece of music. 5/5
I actually discovered this in the early days of the pandemic when I found myself hardly able to listen to music. This has been a constant in the period since. Technically, it’s wonderful of course, but it’s also been that bit of a lifeline for me.
“I’m tired” “I’m hungry” “My back hurts” “This GRAND piano isn’t as big as what I wanted” Oh suck it up jazz wanker, play Rocket Man or something. He did hit some decent notes though.
Piano-instrument only which I love. Easy to listen to and have on in the background.
Now this is jazz I can get behind. The first track is absolutely gorgeous. I wasn't paying close attention at first (jazz is usually background music to me), but about 4 minutes in I found myself drawn in and captivated. I ended up transfixed the entire time. Beautiful track. The second track is outstanding also, and I love how there were so many unique motifs on this album. Too many jazz albums sound like "more of the same." This album was constantly evolving and flowing. Mind-boggling that this is mostly improvised. I spent the day playing this album on repeat and kept finding new moments that surprised me. This is what jazz should be. Outstanding.
The infinite power of being at the current moment. Beautiful. I wish I was there.
There are some amazing moments on this album. I find it really poignant those moments when he struggles to find the groove and then suddenly it hits and the flow is just incredible. Some people are bothered by his vocalizations and I admit that it can become somewhat distracting but when you learn to listen around the vocalizing, to close your eyes and let the music wash over you it is a really all encompassing experience. 5 🌟
So so awe struck by this album. The improvised notes on a broken piano was a pure virtuoso performance of a talented master. Wish I could have heard it live. WOW
Seeing this album on the list surprised me. I haven't listened to Koln in about eight years... In fact I'd almost completely forgotten about it and the life I was leading before the bright lights of Warwick uni took me to the Midlands. The record has a special place in my heart because the first girl I had a proper crush on and, crucially, also (briefly) dated showed me it. She was from one of the fancy schools in Bristol, could hear a song and play it back on the piano immediately, and got with me on sixth form results night. We then went out for about six classy weeks together. It was mega. Well, until she broke up with me on an indie club night on a boat. I had to wash up in a Brewer's Fayre for about ten hours the next day, I've rarely been more broken. The record itself is as good as I remember it. The opening section is maybe the finest solo piano performance around. It's all an improvisation and grows organically, in ways other pieces can't. Keith uses the whole piano, his feet and voice to occupy the place of an ochestra. The grunts and groans show you he knows exactly where he's going and how much he's feeling it. Perhaps most importantly for neo-classical music, Koln is a perfomance that's also very listenable. Jarret goes wild on the keys at points but also pulls back, giving the piece and audience space to breath and take it all in. I'd give it a five, but then again, Hettie also said I didn't kiss her enough when we split up in Thekla. You can't have your cake and eat it Ms Piano Girl. 4.5/5
I encourage anyone who is about to listen to this record to also read about the story leading up to this performance. Absolutely ridiculous circumstances surrounding the show that really puts the songs in a different perspective. The music itself is great as well. Impressive improvisation throughout. Also surprising to me that a solo piano free-improvisation record became a best seller.
Quite a dramatic backstory to this helps the music come alive beyond what you hear initially. I was going to make a crass analogy with my history of Doordash breakfast orders, but Jarrett's performance is too good for that. Embraces the best of both "jazz" and "classical", and makes me imagine catching this live would have been the '70s equivalent of seeing Liszt at his peak, man. Listening to this at a high school football game, where nothing happens repeatedly, may have enhanced my appreciation somewhat; think less, but see it grow. Another one that makes me glad I'm doing this project, good stuff. If you're interested, the burrito I salvaged was pretty great too.
What a phenomenal piano player, it’s just that I miss some kind of cohesion in the songs. Still, love the sound, but miss a clear path. Piano solo for an hour becomes background music at some point, but it still sounds incredible
I... I wish I was cultured enough to can. But unfortunately, I cannot. I am an uncultured swine who cannot discern anything other than competently played piano. I'm going back to Slayer.
All very pleasant. I do like piano music, think of I could choose any instrument to be a master of, it would be the piano. The live recording of the concert made me feel like I've had a glimpse into a world which I wouldn't have experienced otherwise. Bravo He looks like Howard Moon on the cover. Probably won't listen again, but glad I did!
1. At last I get to listen to the full length Barry Norman theme. 2. This is the music played in Mel Gibson’s retirement home. 3. This album was better when they had Jarrett’s original song titles: “Sharon at the Rodeo”, “Miles Cut Yr Hair”, “Where’s My Currywürst, Vera?”, and “Tony, Get The Wheels!” This is obviously a powerful performance in its idiom, a record beloved by many, and a demonstration of what a virtuoso can do under what were apparently crappy circumstances. This is not something that was my jam today, but ended up being decent company for the hour before we went our separate ways.
Very interesting finding out that this is all improv. Wasn’t really that into listening to just piano for over an hour but also didn’t hate it.
I hated this one. The moaning, the extended clapping, the aimless improvisation that felt like it went nowhere for lengthy periods of times. I clearly am not the audience for improvised jazz
Wow. Infectious. Twenty seconds in and I was blown away by the beauty of his playing. I know in another post I said I enjoy lyrics too but not necessary here. I went down the rabbit hole to find out about him and this concert - pretty much just him "jamming" and figuring it out as he went. Wow. Part 1 is incredible.
It is miraculous when you realise he is making it up as he goes along.
Amazing. He improvised the entire thing...that's just...wow. I get why he's so revered, and this album is so celebrated. I realized as I listened to it again that it takes some effort and concentration to stay with it; then I remember they only thing my lazy-arsed-self is doing is listening. Playing this? Making it up as I go along? Whoa.
Was amazing piano instrumental. I will listen again.
Incredibly beautiful piano only album
Captivating virtuoso improvised piano jazz concert performance - a wonderful achievement, all the more impressive because of the challenges and adversity along the way (the Wikipedia page is a must read to understand this album). A work of art. Thrilled to have been introduced to this music by this project.
I thought this was absolutely fantastic, crazy random vocalizations and all. I was in a near delirious state with 103 degree fever while listening so your mileage may vary.
This album is fucking great. I listened to it twice, once in the driving range and at night when I was reading a book. I have never heard of this artist or album. Welcome to the regular music rotation.
This is exactly the kind of thing I signed up for this service for. Never heard of Keith Jarrett before. This album is lit. Amazing solo piano jazz.
Amazing piano! Really fantastic relaxing music to listen to
5 Beautiful Stars
Very fun and uplifting piano music
It’s refreshing to hear such pure talent and skill. Sublime
I am a little biased because I play piano and love it so much. But this jazz improvisation was absolutely gorgeous and I have heard so much of Jarrett before that I was worried my expectations wouldn't be met. They were surpassed. Lovely.
Cool jazz piano I saved it
What do you mean this is all improvised?
For some reason, the generator generated three live albums in one week or so - I can do without the humming, but these improvised jazz piano songs form definitely a piece of timeless music that never gets old.
This was very nice music to have on in the background.
It's amazing especially looking at the circumstances in which this concert happened. Keith Jarret had mild food poisoning, he was playing on wrong piano and there was some delay to everything that happened. Even with those hurdles he managed to perform one of the best (recorded) piano jazz concerts.
Paraná lá, paraná lê, buê. Paraná-nara, lá-ra. Paraná-nara, lá-ra. An overall upbeat yet very emotional piano.
Broken pianos are no match for this legend
Saved Prior: None Saved: Whole Album Overall Notes: This is really really good. This is transcendently good jazz. Beautiful.
OH MY GOD. My favorite piano record of all time! Completely improv’d- I believe this is still the highest selling solo improv record of all time. Absolutely stunning, Keith knows his way around 88 keys better than just about anyone.
FIVE STARS An all-time classic. This record encapsulates a moment that's just simply magical. Among other things, Keith Jarrett is known for his piano improvisations drifting between jazz and classical, and this one here is a keeper that will entrance you with its melodies and intense ostinatos. Some experts will probably tell you this is *not* Jarrett's best live album, yet maybe it's just snobbery on their part. This thing here is definitely one of the best entry points into his universe (one I wish I had taken the time to know a little better--maybe in the years to come, who knows?). As is usually the case with those five-stars albums, I won't write a full-blown review about this particular record, because others have already written wonderful stuff about it and there's not much I can add that I feel could be relevant and interesting. It's just a gem. Go and listen to it a.s.a.p. Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 945 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 25 (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 15 Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more important to me):
Why oh why did I wait so long to listen to this album? Growing up my father was always telling me I had to listen to this album and the whole story behind it but I never followed through. I should have earlier. I love Jarrett's piano playing here. To think it's all improvised. So fantastic.
Have never heard of this concert or Keith Jarret, really enjoyed this on first listen, then after listening about the story of the live show and this was improvised blew me away, this really is a masterpiece and deserves the full 5 stars.
Niet verwacht dat ik dit zo goed ging vinden! Zoals altijd luisterde ik in de auto, maar dit was dus wat is in stukjes. Als ik eens een uurtje heb, zet ik deze zeker nog eens op om gewoon te genieten
Quite amazing. The story of course but just gets better with every listen. This was the sort of thing I was hoping to find here.
Worth to listen and get lost in the mood
I was very impressed just listening to this, but the backstory added another star to the score. What an amazing piece of work that almost didn't happen due to one mixup after another. I wasn't expecting the groans but somehow they added another level of authenticity. The Spotify recommendations that came after this album were great too. This definitely lives up to the book's title.
Such beautiful playing. Easy to just get lost in
Ratio: 100% Fantastic, absolutely loved. Skilful piano mastery. Would recommend this to anybody. Favs: All Dislikes: N/A
Was completely unfamiliar with this, and it's a pretty flawless solo jazz piano performance and recording. Gorgeous.
Stupendous. I listened to it three times in a row. Part 1 is especially stupendous. What he can do with two chords is just jaw dropping.
Amazing album...must add to my collection
Very moving pieces, with a very interesting context. I loved hearing the reaction of the audience when the improvisation became amazing.
Loved that album! The live sounds really bring something and make you feel like you were taking part in the show. Learning about the circumstances of the recording, how the concert was almost canceled, how there was a mistake and the piano he was playing was bad quality and had broken pedals, how the pianist was sleep and food deprived at the time of the concert but he still managed to improvise maybe the best piece of his career, makes the whole thing seem almost magical!
Wonderful way to spend the morning.
Stunning. Beautiful and spare and amazing.
I love hearing someone so into their music as he is. The pure joy is captured by his yelling and foot stomping. There are few musicians who captivate an audience by paying solo than Jarrett.
Quelqu'un dans les commentaires a dit que c'était comme de la musique de fond.... Pas d'accord du tout. C'est un des meilleurs albums de Piano original que j'ai écouté de ma vie. L'heure passe très vite et on passe par toute la game des émotions. C'est plus facile à digéré qu'un album de Jazz traditionnelle comme il y en a dans cette liste. Ca sonne vraiment comme une tonne de brique et c'est un delice pour les oreilles. Je ne connaissais pas et je suis très contente de me prêter à l'exercice de cette liste pour découvrir des bijoux comme cela. 5
I did not immerse myself into Keith Jarrett until 78 (freshman year in college) when someone on my floor played the Sun Bear Concerts non-stop. It was (and still is) tremendously impressive to me and I was hooked. I quickly worked back and discovered The Koln Concert. Jarrett's solo piano explorations are not for everyone, but I find them utterly compelling. To call this jazz is not fair and Jarrett defies categorization. He utilizes rhythmic, almost hypnotic, motifs that shift to other related motifs in an impressionistic manner. This repetition is more akin to pop music than jazz, but the elements blend jazz, classical, gospel and folk seamlessly. I think is essential listening.
A masterpiece. Just stunning music.
Too lit to use as study music in the background. Catchier than I expected a piano jazz album to be, and I like the little moments where Jarrett is vamping and can't help making sounds like even they can't believe what they're doing.
Editors get this one right: "a monument to musical possibility." The idea that the best jazz is built on spontaneous composition (aka improvisation) is the first among many reasons that more jazz records should be included on this list. Jazz is a fundamentally diffrent game than verse-chorus-verse-chorus pop songs (no matter how clever) or rock bands doing endless power chords (no matter how magisterially). Certainly there are ample KJ releases that are worthy, though this one is unique in its mostly uplifting vibe (again, kudos to editors for noting that). One feels more soul in this work than in other drier, more academic recordings. And one doesn't have to love every single note to appreciate – and be awed by – the magnitude of effort and brilliance on display. A magical night, under sub-optimal conditions, nearly 50 years ago, still translates into a transporting musical experience today – the mark of a classic or deathbed recording in any genre.
this album is something else. everything that could have gone wrong before keith jarrett's performance did go wrong! but for me, someone who is musically untrained but enjoys music a lot, i couldn't have even predicted any of the backstage struggles and mishaps. jarrett gave a remarkable concert and every second sounds so beautiful! it's also hard to believe this was improvised, and there's only the piano for the entire concert! regardless of how the concert/album came to be, it is positively wonderful. it's easy to listen to, and the backstory makes it even more fascinating. well deserved spot on this list.
This is a live piano-only performance by Keith Jarrett. It was released on the ECM label, which has since become known for publishing their unique style of jazz known as "ECM third stream" or simply "ECM style jazz". In this solo piano performance, you will hear a poppy approach to jazz similar to jazz fusion, while hearing a sound that is grounded in western classical music, thus creating a new approach to the third stream. The end result is beautiful piano music that is much more accessible through it's jazz fusion hooks. It is doubly impressive, perhaps, that this performance was done on a rehearsal baby grand piano that was in no shape for a proper performance: largely out of tune, with a weak lower register and pedals that didn't work. The compound on the issue, Jarrett was overtired from travel and had barely any time to eat a meal before the concert. By all accounts, this performance should have been a disaster. And yet, what we hear is fantastic. Not only was Jarrett able to work around the weaknesses of the faulty instrument, but his improvisational skills shined through to deliver a magnificent night of music. His approach to jazz is electric. I struggle to find faults in the music; it simply does not bore me. Pure artistic beauty was captured 24 January 1975 in Cologne. There was something in the air.
Прослушано! Просто великий альбом, слушать и слушать.
So here we finally get to hear the album that every English kid's dad owned, I've just been waiting for this - and? It doesn't disappoint. I mean it has to be the best-selling piano recording in history for a reason right? Take some time off and give this the attention it deserves. Read up on the making of the album and Jarrett while doing it. Special.
Love this record. It’s such a journey. Tough to explain how it feels. Expression of totally unique emotions and ones that feel universal and ones that are more transitional or ambiguous but are so specific to this recording. Sometimes totally introspective and sometimes joyous. I love the peaks and valleys and the searching and development and hearing him find inspiration in real time. There are so many amazing moments in here and it’s the context of all of it that makes them feel so satisfying and earned.
Finally a reason to include a live album in this series. While all live albums capture a short period in time this one stands out. The pieces didn't exist prior to the concert and, for this, has merit alone. But the compositions, the flow, the interactions are bold and tantalisingly engaging. The early thought that this might be suited as a background accompaniment so dissolved and it became engrossing. For a first listen for a hitherto unknown (to me ) artist this is something.
Extremely unique, especially in the context of this list. From the first notes played, it's obvious this is someone with command of the piano, and a clear idea about what they're saying with it. Despite the long tracks, I found this engaging, even mesmerizing, the whole way through.
Wow.. Just wow.. awesome concert.
ECM really brought the absolute best out of Keith Jarrett and The Köln Concert is the prime example of this. For over an hour, Keith brings the essence of jazz (and piano music) into its core emotional center, with expressive playing and the surprisingly high-spirited yelps emanating from Keith himself as he (and the audience) loses sense of self in the music. The perfect introduction to his many a recorded concerts.
Supreme cooking music
Before diving in, it really is worth understanding the extremely adverse circumstances under which Jarrett performed that cold rainy night in 1975. Because understanding this underscores just how grand an accomplishment it is. You should read the Wiki. To hear the Koln Concert is to hear one of the greatest live piano concerts that has ever been recorded. It is bursting with complex emotion and poignant melodies. Jarrett is a master and this is his undisputed magnum opus and his long-lasting gift to the world. I've heard this and many other Jarrett albums hundreds of times (this is his best). I sometimes turn to this album in times of great emotional distress like nearby deaths. And I usually listen to it on vinyl. It is so evocative that you can hear the plaintive laughter and cries of those in the room uncontrollably and numerously accenting the piano. Don't ignore those voices. That's the accompanying instrument to Jarret. Honestly, if this album does not evoke in you a powerful emotional response, you should be worried! It was nice to hear again. And for what it's worth, thank you, Keith. For the gift you gave.
1/3/23: I had never heard of this album. Absolutely inspirational. Can’t believe this was a completely improvised set.
This one is a masterpiece. Completely blown away with the fact that this was all improvised. Keith Jarrett is a musical genius, and thanks to this album, I’m going to be digging into more of his recordings for a bit of jazz inspiration.
Jarrett's soft moans of encouragement to his piano are the cherry on top of this amazing piece of music.
Holy crap, ongelofelijk dat dit door 1 man live geïmproviseerd wordt. Echt een prachtig album. Gaat op de lijst.
I'm not a fan of jazz but this was excellent
The speed and precision of play is remarkable, but the way the music soars and Jarrett’s vocalizations add the joy. He is IN IT. Great recording (listened on Apple Music lossless), too.
This album is quite remarkable. Oh to be one of those people who saw this live.
Woah. Improvised?! How exciting! How have I never heard this guy?
I'm always searching for a good bedtime jazz piano album for my children, and i think I found it thanks to Kieth Jarrett. There are a few audible "ohhhs" from the artist throughout this live album of four tracks. The stats are insane: best selling jazz piano album ever, the wrong piano was delivered and had to be tuned last minute, the concert started at 11:30pm, you can hear Keith Jarrett laughing during some songs giving it a "real feel", 5 stars by about every publication out there, tickets were $1.72. Solid. I loved it. This is why I'm doing the 1001 albums, to discover new and unique stuff. JRL are listening to this one before bed from now on.
i like it, especially the last song
this album and the story behind it are absolutely insane. Keith how
complete masterpiece of solo piano improvisations