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Keith Jarrett – Somewhere Over the Rainbow & The Köln Concert

Keith Jarrett is a musical god to me. His famous concerts beginning in the 1970’s where he walked onto the stage, sat at the piano, and then created music from nothing stand as a supreme example of what I would like to achieve – a full length concert that is engaging, beautiful and creative and 100% unplanned. Keith Jarrett is exceptional for his ability to do this. I do not have an ambition to play like Keith Jarrett. I doubt if I could even if I tried. I do however, share a passion for improvising in a freestyle with no predetermined road map. It is a powerful way to be in the moment. The first of the following two videos is not an example of a freestyle improvisation. It is an improvisation on a well known song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It is a magical and sublime performance. Enjoy. The second video is from his famous Köln Concert recorded live in 1975. It is an example of freestyle improvising.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

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Köln Concert – Part 1

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Des Dougan September 12, 2010, 9:34 pm

    I’ve had a recording of The Köln Concert since the late 70s. It’s still one of my favourite albums – the dynamism and rhythms are quite breathtaking and when you consider that it’s totally improvised, it really does put you in awe of Jarrett’s talent.

    Thanks for posting these and continued best wishes with _your_ improvisations.


    • Craig September 13, 2010, 3:22 pm

      Hi Des,

      Ah hah! I had no idea you were a Keith Jarrett fan. How delightful to learn that about you. Remarkably, until I stumbled upon these YouTube videos of Keith Jarrett, I had never SEEN him perform. He is fascinating to watch. The way he often stands up whilst playing is unique for sure.


  • Hannah September 19, 2010, 10:57 am

    Craig, thank you for introducing me to Keith Jarrett.

    I can’t stop listening to this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4sTfFpaLaI&feature=related
    Do you know what recording it’s on?

  • Craig September 19, 2010, 1:41 pm

    Hello Hannah,
    I do not know if this particular performance of Somewhere Over the Rainbow is available on a recording. However, there is another beautiful CD he released that is full of works of a similar nature and flavour. The recording is called “The Melody At Night, With You”. It includes numbers such as “Someone to Watch Over Me”, “I Loves You Porgy”, & “Shenandoah”. It’s one of my favourite Piano albums.

    The Köln Concert track is from an album by the same name “The Köln Concert (Live)”


  • Julie Cochrane September 21, 2010, 10:20 am

    What a beautiful rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” Craig … it’s a song that holds a special place in my heart as it is what I would sing to both of my boys at night as they fell asleep, first as young babies in my arms, then as toddlers and even as school-aged kids. As my ‘boys’ are now young men, the song always evokes a very special mother memory for me … thank you for sharing.

    • Craig September 21, 2010, 11:49 am

      Thanks for sharing Julie. How lovely to know what this beautiful peace evokes for you.

  • ted September 21, 2010, 11:49 am

    I discovered Keith Jarrett and the Köln Concert about 10 years ago and I rank it as the top in my list of favourites.
    Most of his other work is excellent but the Köln Concert is the best.

    I applaud you for your good taste and talent.
    I must listen to more of your work when I return home from the UK.


  • Hannah September 21, 2010, 1:05 pm

    Thanks Craig. I was actually interested in “I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good” (in the youtube comments it’s described as “starting in a smoky bar and ending in a church”), but it appears that’s on the same album you mentioned. Looks like I’ll be treating myself to some Amazon mp3s!

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