Sunday, April 30, 2017

Keith Jarrett — Treasure Island

April 30 - INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY celebrated under the auspices of UNESCO since 2012


   From the beginning of his recording career Keith Jarrett was musician of huge possibilities. As multi instrumentalist he was playing piano, harpsichord, pipe organ, soprano saxophone, flute, recorder, harmonica, guitar, bass guitar, drums and various percussion instruments. He was also songwriter and singer experimenting with popular song. As composer he was developing some creative continuations of third stream idea. He was as well stylistically versatile as a performer, playing not only various styles of jazz, but also folk rock and giving well established performances of baroque, classical and 20th century music. The catalogue of his albums is huge both for its volume and variety. Considering Jarrett’s achievements in jazz as main stream of his activity, it’s still not easy to point an outward direction or style for whole of his work. Probably the best answer would be defining own style as weave of personal tendencies and generation knowledge, the value system and music technology. And with every expression of these qualities Jarrett’s individual style looks more consistent.
   Keith Jarrett was associated with Impulse label for two years, and in such short period he recorded four albums starting with Fort Yawuh, (rec. live February 24, 1973), continued with Treasure Island and concluded with two albums recorded during one session October 9-10, 1974: Death and The Flower (released 1975) and Back Hand (released 1974). Second album recorded for Impulse was studio recording. Sessions took place in Generation Sound Studios in New York City on February 27 and 28, 1974. Treasure Island was recorded with Dewey Redman playing tenor saxophone, Charlie Haden playing bass, Paul Motian playing drums with guest performances of guitarist Sam Brown (in Treasure Island and Sister Fortune). Apart piano, Keith Jarrett played soprano saxophone in Angles (Without Edges). In effect is affordably inexpensive session gave results of widely developed project.

Keith Jarrett — Treasure Island (1974)

   The idea of Treasure Island was to melt various directions of contemporary jazz, including fusion and soul jazz, funk and free jazz, progressive and popular music. Such attitude was young Jarrett’s idée fixe; he was expanding stylistic frontiers beyond any borders. The more contradictory these currents were, the more interesting was stylistic background and its final effect looked better. Like in treasury found on tropical island we have everything precious in one coffer, here we have various elements of tradition closed in one program. And the best feature is the structure of this album – all compositions are complementary and every element is perfectly set with the others. Sad and joyous, light and heavy moments are balanced and magnificently displayed. If he didn’t develop his own stylistic way, this could be Jarrett’s style as well.
   Interesting mistake happened in my copy of Treasure Island. It is European edition re-released by Impulse in February 2016. The second side of the record contains one more track: Sister Fortune which is last song on B-side, has been cut two times – at the beginning of this side and at the end. Maybe it was intended action to give listener a chance to listen this nice piece in better quality, maybe it was calculated as a provocation showing how passive listeners we are. Whatever it was, it would be nice to read publisher’s information on this. Considering musical quality this album deserves four stars for originality and strong position in early discography of great pianist.

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