Thursday, March 6, 2008

Jarrett / Peacock / DeJohnette at Royce Hall

Wow, what a gig at UCLA's Royce Hall by Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, celebrating their 25th Anniversary as a trio. My friend and I had seats in the balcony, with a perfect view of Jarrett's hands on the keyboard. Two sets, about an hour each, with two encores. I know squat about jazz standards, but I was told that the tune to end the first set was Monk's Straight, No Chaser. Monk as filtered through the Second Viennese School, that is. Stunning.

Mr. Jarrett in particular was in fine form, spinning out perfectly executed skeins of 16th note runs over three octaves, more angular motifs and a subtle use of left-hand comping. Mr. Peacock, whether soloing or as part of the ensemble, was terrific, something special to watch and hear for this dabbler on bass guitar. His intonation was superb and his tone muscular and full, no matter where on the neck (or above it!) he was playing. Mr. DeJohnette is not the fiery "what? play a straight pulse? HAHAHAHA" drummer I know so well from his days as Miles Davis' drummer in the great Lost Quintet, but what he lacked in blatant displays of virtuosity, he more than made up for that in subtlety and nuance. What a night of straight-ahead jazz playing!

Just to confirm that scumbags are not limited to ruining the atmosphere at symphony concerts, despite a clearly stated warning, which I know the guy heard because he was a row down and about 10 seats over from me, some paramecium waited until Mr. Jarrett looked up in our direction during the applause after the second set was over to take a flash photograph. Ruh roh! This prompted two stern admonishments (admonishment > go to piano to begin to play > return to mic for second admonishment) from Mr. Jarrett after the group came back out. I wouldn't have blamed him if he hadn't come back for the encores. What the hell is wrong with people?

For a more profanity laced version of a Keith Jarrett admonishment, check out this clip on YouTube (NOTE: sound starts as soon as you click the link) from Umbria Jazz in 1997. Wow.

Still, a great night of jazz at a beautiful venue.

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