However, it is probably the art of improvisation in jazz that has reached artistic heights and unparalleled complexity. Indeed, it has become the principal form of this artistic trend, the center of the structure is more important: the jam session.
On the evening of 24 January 1975, something magical happened at the Opera House in Cologne. Keith Jarrett, pianist going strong for a decade scarce, grew up in the court of the Jazz Messengers Blakey, Charles Lloyd and Miles Davis, for some years had started a successful collaboration with the German record producer Manfred Eicher (founder of the historic label ECM).
That evening, Jarrett had asked that the stage had brought a Steinway, his favourite piano, the one on which he had for years cultivated the art of improvisation. Something did not go the right way and the Steinway never came, although many of the organization began to tremble, the pianist who had asked to be brought in to replace one of the two who were Bösendorfer behind the scenes, after trying them. However, that night she was born to be special, full of bad luck, to a mix up on the stage was instead brought another Bösendorfer.
The first notes are waiting, as if Jarrett and Bösedorfer were two beasts that they were studying, eye to eye. The sound of the piano was something that went beyond the darkest forecasts; seemed to come from one instrument to the barrelhouse and not from a concert grand piano.
The first few minutes are the real description of a suspense experienced live, but then Jarrett throws herself headlong into this adventure that, for better or for worse, will mark the pianism jazz and new age of 20 years. An adventure from the total duration of about one hour, the concert consists of four parts, or better, of two parts and four sections (Part I, Part IIa, IIb Parts, Part IId).
The second section IIa, we understand immediately what context tonally bound was born and developed the harmony of performance; Jarrett with his left hand on the bass could not help but look for the most obsessive rhythms (and found them!) Between clinched fast and octave jumps on secondary accents. A spasmodic rhythm and obsessive on which alternate melodies scattered pieces of rag that just come get tangled around the blue note, forming a melodic impasse that is rarely found in the jazz discography. Everything contained between the king and the low high C, interval enclosing the unique expressive possibilities of the Bösendorfer.
The second section, the IIb, is probably the greatest legacy to a whole host of new age pianists who shortly thereafter would have flooded the music market, after a quiet start that soon proves to be hypnotic, occasionally broken by small flown to the top as the sudden flashes that disturb the stagnant waters of the swamp somewhere in the south, the song indulges in a long and exhausting series of trills and tremolos that through an intricate modulation so as to really lose orientation harmonic and time, leads us from the initial key of A greater than that of Lab greater.
Eicher and Jarrett, after having listened to the tape they decided that , despite all odds , the recorded material was "musically coherent" and, thanks to the engineer Wieland, it was improved to be engraved. The concert was first published on double vinyl and released in the same year, the Times magazine, also in 1975, The Köln Concert rewarded with the Record of the Year Award. Jarrett is not much further deepen in the years that his legacy "European" essentially harmonic- melodic, making it clear even to his detractors which was the real impact on the jazz pianism of this American of Pennsylvania. The Köln Concert is the key to his pianism and improvisational experience in it as the "classic" is put at the service of the gospel, and jazz rag everything.