Magazine article Gramophone

Barber * Bartok * Jarrett: Barber Piano Concerto

Magazine article Gramophone

Barber * Bartok * Jarrett: Barber Piano Concerto

Article excerpt

Barber * Bartok * Jarrett

Barber Piano Concerto, Op 38 (a)

Bartok Piano Concerto No 3, Sz119 (b)

Jarrett Tokyo Encore: Nothing But the Truth (c)

Keith Jarrett pf (a) Saarbrucken Radio Symphony

Orchestra / Dennis Russell Davies; (b) New Japan

Philharmonic Orchestra / Kazuyoshi Akiyama

ECM New Series [F] 4811580 (59' * DDD)

Recorded live at the (a) Congresshalle, Saarbriicken, June 3,1984; (bc) Kan-i

Hoken Hall, Tokyo, January 30,1985

Although many jazz pianists unquestionably play classical music well, do their performances stack up to those of world-class, full-time classical keyboard practitioners? In the case of these live archival Barber and Bartok Third Concertos with Keith Jarrett, the answer is an unequivocal yes, for the pianist's contributions alone. Put simply, Jarrett's fierce and authoritative command of Barber's difficult piano part is on par with John Browning's benchmark performance. The octave onslaughts are not just accurate and assured but they also have shape and purpose. And if one might imagine a more nuanced and yielding central 'Canzone', Jarrett's headlong phrasing and strong rhythmic backbone allow Barber's polytextural writing to emerge in firmer perspective than what most of today's slower, spongier traversals deliver. …

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