Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Keith Jarrett Trio - My Foolish Heart: Live at Montreux

Anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing Keith Jarrett's solo concerts knows that he is an amazing performer and perhaps the greatest pianist of all time. His remarkable ability to perform solo for over an hour and have the listener completely in awe cannot be matched by anyone else, living or dead. Jarrett's performances with his trio; consisting of Jarrett on Piano, Gary Peacock on bass, and Jack DeJohnette on drums; are a delight as well. You know that Peacock and DeJohnette are great musicians to have the ability to keep up with a pianist as unbelievable as Jarrett.

Keith Jarrett gained popularity playing with Art Blakey and Miles Davis. After playing with them and with a group of his own, Jarrett played his first solo concert in 1973. In 1975 he released "The Köln Concert" which was extremely popular at the time and is considered his most popular work. "The Köln Concert" became popular not only with jazz fans but also with stoners in the 70's which helped the record gain popularity. Jarrett still plays solo concerts every now and then (he's 64) but has been focusing more on the Keith Jarrett Trio who play mostly standards. In the 90's, Jarrett battled chronic fatigue syndrome and had difficulty performing but has since reinvented himself and works around it.

I had the chance to see the Trio play at UCLA's Royce Hall and I can honestly say that it was the best concert I have ever seen, period. When Jarrett plays, as you'll notice in this recording, he tends to mouth the notes he's hitting on the piano. At first, it is kind of annoying but the more you listen to it, the more you realize that it adds to the improv. Most of the time, he'll mouth the notes as he plays them, which is insane when you realize the speed he often plays at. I went with a friend and we were laughing every now and then because his playing and pure talent was so ridiculous. They played an awesome version of Thelonious Monk's "Straight, No Chaser". Jarrett is also known for his temper. Before the concert, Jarrett told the audience that he did not want flash photography at any time during the concert. Right before the Trio went offstage for intermisison, someone in the crowd took a picture and Jarrett went off on the person, telling them that they "had no respect for the musicians" and that they should "think twice before coming to see them again". I thought it was pretty hilarious but Jarrett was dead serious and pretty damn pissed.

I've been wanting to post a Keith Jarrett record for a while. I'll post one of his solo concerts soon. This concert was recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2001 and features some great covers such as Miles Davis' "Four" and Monk's "Straight, No Chaser". The Trio is in top form. Enjoy.

My Foolish Heart: Live at Montreux (Disc 1)
My Foolish Heart: Live at Montreux (Disc 2)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Victor Jara - En Vivo en el Aula Magna de la Universidad de Valparaiso (May 29, 1970)

In 1973, after the U.S. backed coup of the Marxist socialist President Salvador Allende in Chile (who was replaced by dictator Augusto Pinochet), Victor Jara was rounded up along with thousands of others who supported the socialist government. They were taken to Estadio Chile (Chile Stadium) where most of them were tortured and/or killed. Jara first had his hands and ribs broken. He was then shot in the head and several times in his body and died. His body was dumped in the road near Santiago, he was 40 years old. The guard responsible for his death was found guilty earlier this year for Jara's murder. Jara was an extremely popular musician in Chile and throughout the world. His songs, which were mostly protest songs supporting rights for the poor, became anthems for supporters of Marxism in Chile during the reign of Pinochet's abusive regime. He has been a influence for folk singers throughout the world and is without question one of the greatest folk singers the world has seen. It is extremely unfortunate that the world lost such a remarkable musician and thousands of others because of the United States' fear of the spread of Communism. Pinochet attempted to burn any trace of Jara's music, but with the help of his fans and socialist defectors of Pinochet's Chile, the majority of his music was smuggled out of Chile and lives on, and we are blessed to have the chance to hear it. In 2003 Estadio Chile, the site of Jara's torture and death, was renamed Estadio Victor Jara in honor of Jara and the other socialist supporters who were killed there.

All of Jara's studio records are phenomenal, but this concert in Valparaiso, Chile is an amazing representation of Jara's spirit and energy. I'll also post a poem written by Jara during his imprisonment. I'll post some of his studio records in the future. Enjoy this concert, which we may have never had the chance to hear if Pinochet would have been successful in erasing Jara's music from history.

"Estadio Chile"

En Vivo en al Aula Magna de la Universidad de Valparaiso

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Les Rallizes Denudes- '77 Live

I have been totally obsessed with this record the past few days.  To be honest I have never heard any of Les Rallizes Denudes studio work but apparently they were a band since the late sixties up into the mid nineties in their home of Japan.  I have to admit I didn't really know what to expect from this record but I was definitely pleasantly surprised to discover a quality live recording of timeless feedback drenched psych-pop.  Apparently in Japan these guys had a pretty nice cult following and from the sound of this record its no shock why.  Les Rallizes Denudes play pretty straight up psychedelic rock and roll and from the sound of it they do a good amount of improvisation live.  You could draw an easy comparison to the Velvet Underground.  On this record there is only one song that hits below the ten minute mark but don't be afraid, there is plenty of structure to every song which is actually the best part.  Unlike a lot of other groups who play this type of improvised rock and roll, you never feel lost and the song never seems to take the backseat for experimentation.  It is always humbling to find a gem like this  to remind you that there is still tons of amazing records out there that will slowly reveal themselves as time goes on.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tonstartssbandht- An When

When I first saw the name Tonstartssbandht I thought without a doubt that it was some obscure german kraut rock from the seventies.  Can you blame me?  Especially since I read about it on the Zamboni Soundtrack blog which actually covers a lot of records from that genre.  Much to my surprise Tonstartssbandht do not play kraut rock but instead play rad Big Country rip offs, Spacemen 3 covers from another dimension and sludged out noise anthems amongst other things.  Apparently Tonstartssbandht are two brothers from New York and from the sound of this record I would expect them to fit in nicely with the scene going on there right now (Captured Tracks, Underwater Peoples, Sacred Bones,Woodsist).  Although a lot of what is on "An When" sounds familiar, I think there is enough different to keep it interesting the whole way through.  It sounds like whoever made this record was having a lot of fun and I think that translates well through the songs.  You can order a copy of the CDR directly from the label that released it off their myspace which I will link below.