The Köln ConcertKeith Jarrett
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.