TAS Rated 4.5/5 Music, 4.5/5 Sonics in the December 2022 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
Fred Kaplan's The Best Jazz Albums of 2022 - Rated 4/10!
JazzTimes The Top 40 Jazz Albums of 2022 - Rated 32/40!
Bordeaux Concert documents a solo performance, the last that Keith Jarrett would give in France, at the Auditorium de l'Opéra National de Bordeaux on July 6, 2016, and finds the pianist at a creative high point.
Each of Jarrett's 2016 solo piano concerts had its own strikingly distinct character, and in Bordeaux - although the music would progress through many changing moods - the lyrical impulse was to the fore. In the course of this improvised thirteen-part suite, many quiet discoveries are made. There is a touching freshness to the music as a whole, a feeling of intimate communication shared with the 1,400 attentive listeners in the hall. This time there is no recourse to standard tunes to round out the performance; the arc of spontaneously composed and often intensely melodic music is satisfyingly complete in itself. In the later concerts, part of Jarrett's achievement as an improviser has been the way in which he has not only channeled the music in its moment-to-moment emergence but implied a sense of larger structure as he balances its episodes and atmospheres.
Reviewing the July 2016 performance, the French press spoke of hints of the Köln Concert and Bremen-Lausanne in the flow of things, and extended sections of Bordeaux Concert are beguilingly beautiful. Tender songs are coaxed from the air, "rousing a community of listening at the edge of silence," as Francis Marmande put it in Le Monde, "an awareness of time out from the noise and weariness of the world."
Bordeaux's community of listeners had long been aware of Jarrett's music. The Nouvelle-Aquitaine capital was one of the first European cities where Jarrett presented his music, as early as 1970 - with his trio, then, with Gus Nemeth and Aldo Romano. He was back in the early 1990s, with the 'Standards' trio with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette. The July 2016 concert, however, was his only solo performance in the city (made possible via the Jazz and Wine Bordeaux Festival and its director, Jean-Jacques Quesada.)
The Bordeaux Concert is not for the Jarrett beginner, but for seasoned fans of his many solo recordings, that are, after all, responsible for a sizeable portion of his legendary reputation. The dialogue he engages in with the piano here challenges its own assertions with an unassuming, even reverential authority. This is not only masterful, it soulful, interrogatory, and virtuosic.
Bordeaux Concert is another blank-slate affair that harkens back to Jarrett's beguilingly beautiful The Koln Concert, his career-defining landmark from 1975. Consisting of a purely improvised 13-part suite, this intimate concert travels from knotty atonal ('Part I') to searching and pensive ('Part II') to deeply lyrical and almost hymn-like ('Part III'), with stopovers into the jauntily contrapuntal ('Part V') and sublimely restful ('Part VI'). Jarrett also digs into sone gutbucket blues and boogie-woogie flourishes ('Part VIII') while also touching on achingly beautiful melodic passages ('Part IX,' 'Part XII') to rival his most affecting moments on The Koln Concert. Rather than encoring with tender numbers like 'Over the Rainbow' or 'Answer Me, My Love,' as he had done on Budapest and Munich, he closes on a dark note with a droning, requiem-like 'Part XIII.' Riveting and cathartic.
The pieces veer from avant rumblers to elegiac ballads to earthy blues, but they're more streamlined than usual, most of them lasting just around five minutes—less rhapsodic, though still arousing, with the themes and variations pared down to their essentials, and for that reason more intense.
- Double LP
- Recorded Live July 6, 2016 at Auditorium de l'Opéra National de Bordeaux
- Gatefold Jacket
- Made in Germany
- Part I
- Part II
- Part III
- Part IV
- Part V
- Part VI
- Part VII
- Part VIII
- Part IX
- Part X
- Part XI
- Part XII
- Part XIII