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#2109003 - 06/27/13 09:55 AM Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever?  
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I'm purposely posting this on the classical forum because I'm curious about your opinions on this. Some examples of why I think he is:

I Loves You Porgy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwParjhWa00

Be My Love
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iENQgr0l2Qw

Old Man River
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIUIuCrPGVg

My Wild Irish Rose
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxCea54SGZY&feature=related

Shenandoah
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx2quk1g8p8

Somewhere Over The Rainbow
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VultD5pIbd8

Any other pianists you prefer for ballads? All the scores except the second available for free online.

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#2109007 - 06/27/13 10:01 AM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Your question assumes that we have a knowledge and appreciation of a large number of piano "ballad players" in order to decide who is the "greatest." This may not necessarily be the case among many of us.

Regards,


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#2109019 - 06/27/13 10:23 AM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: BruceD]  
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Your question assumes that we have a knowledge and appreciation of a large number of piano "ballad players" in order to decide who is the "greatest." This may not necessarily be the case among many of us.
I understand that some/many on the classical forum may not be very familiar with many jazz pianists.

But maybe you can still listen to a few of the recordings and see if you like them and give us your opinion (even if it's not a comparative one). I'm guessing /hoping that many who never heard him play ballads will be as overwhelmed by the beauty of his interpretations as I was when I first started listening to them.

#2109027 - 06/27/13 10:45 AM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I'm guessing /hoping that many who never heard him play ballads will be as overwhelmed by the beauty of his interpretations as I was when I first started listening to them.


Count me in. His arrangement of "Shenandoah" is meditative and absolutely gorgeous.


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#2109033 - 06/27/13 10:54 AM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Yes, but can he play a 'Ballade' as well?

#2109037 - 06/27/13 10:59 AM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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What's the difference between a ballade and a ballad?
(Apart from the 'e').


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2109076 - 06/27/13 12:13 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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A "ballade" is a large-scale composition - generally for piano and generally from the Romantic era - that often has a literary inspiration and an epic quality to it.

A ballad is a folk or popular song, usually in AABA form.

Regards,


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#2109088 - 06/27/13 12:29 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Yes, I think that in ballads in particular his sense of longer line and his sense of layers is absolutely incredible. Just a side-thought though - I think it's a bit interesting that he is fully able to produce such wonderful soundworlds from the piano when improvising, while he's playing classical music in such a grey way by comparison. I used to like his approach in classical, and I would certainly agree that there are classical musicians that impose their own personality too much on top of the music - still, I rather doubt that most composers would disagree to let performers let their imagination guide them for producing a good sound, etc.

#2109115 - 06/27/13 01:31 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: fnork]  
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Originally Posted by fnork
I think it's a bit interesting that he is fully able to produce such wonderful soundworlds from the piano when improvising, while he's playing classical music in such a grey way by comparison.


You think this sounds 'grey'?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O4uktu6GOc

#2109116 - 06/27/13 01:32 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: Emanuel Ravelli]  
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Originally Posted by Emanuel Ravelli

Count me in. His arrangement of "Shenandoah" is meditative and absolutely gorgeous.


There's a transcription of that piece on keithjarrett.org

http://www.keithjarrett.org/transcriptions/

Plover has linked to it before but in case you missed it...

#2109152 - 06/27/13 02:53 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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I've been wanting to hear those because people rave about his playing so often. And I agree, it's lovely, sensitive playing (I liked some of those more than others).

I also wanted to point you to another pianist/composer who doesn't get nearly enough attention..."Blue" Gene Tyranny. Disclaimer, I suppose, that I know him personally, but I find his playing just stellar and wish I could bring his sound and expression into my own playing. He did a lot of work with composer Robert Ashley over many decades. I've just recorded a solo he wrote for me, for my own upcoming CD.

Much of his playing is ballad-like with sometimes florid free-jazz-like passages. I wish I could link to his playing of "A Letter from Home," or a newer piece based on a Quaker tune, but one is only available on CD and the other as yet unrecorded.

Here is a link to some of his playing; this piece seems to be a series of very short fragments, but it will give you an idea. There's so little of his playing on the internet.

BG Tyranny





#2109167 - 06/27/13 03:17 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: beeboss]  
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Originally Posted by beeboss
Originally Posted by fnork
I think it's a bit interesting that he is fully able to produce such wonderful soundworlds from the piano when improvising, while he's playing classical music in such a grey way by comparison.


You think this sounds 'grey'?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O4uktu6GOc

No, I quite like his Fratres recording. But you cannot judge someone from a piece like that, with a piano part with relatively few notes - try his Shostakovich or Bach. Shosta is overall better, but I just lack the feeling that he's trying out the whole range of colours the way he does it when playing solo.

#2109335 - 06/27/13 09:40 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: RealPlayer]  
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Originally Posted by RealPlayer
I've been wanting to hear those because people rave about his playing so often. And I agree, it's lovely, sensitive playing (I liked some of those more than others).

I also wanted to point you to another pianist/composer who doesn't get nearly enough attention..."Blue" Gene Tyranny. Disclaimer, I suppose, that I know him personally, but I find his playing just stellar and wish I could bring his sound and expression into my own playing. He did a lot of work with composer Robert Ashley over many decades. I've just recorded a solo he wrote for me, for my own upcoming CD.

Much of his playing is ballad-like with sometimes florid free-jazz-like passages. I wish I could link to his playing of "A Letter from Home," or a newer piece based on a Quaker tune, but one is only available on CD and the other as yet unrecorded.

Here is a link to some of his playing; this piece seems to be a series of very short fragments, but it will give you an idea. There's so little of his playing on the internet.

BG Tyranny






I love BGT! I have yet to make it all the way through Robert Ashley's Perfect Lives, but his playing is certainly one of the highlights.

#2109348 - 06/27/13 09:54 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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I'm not sure about whether he's the best ballad player or whatever, but I've just learned a new term. I didn't know what a ballad was until reading this thread. wink

I think I'm more interested in ballade players than ballad players, to be quite honest. wink


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2109502 - 06/28/13 07:10 AM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: fnork]  
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Originally Posted by fnork
Yes, I think that in ballads in particular his sense of longer line and his sense of layers is absolutely incredible.

Does he sense a longer line, or is he just playing at a slow tempo? I don't know the answer to that.

I listened to Shenandoah and Old Man River. The problem I had was that I couldn't entirely divorce the music from the lyrics in my mind. They are ballads, after all, not piano ballades.

I think Jarrett was playing those songs too slowly for them to be sung by anyone but a very accomplished singer. So they seemed odd to me.

#2109693 - 06/28/13 12:27 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: Luthrin]  
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Originally Posted by Luthrin
Originally Posted by Emanuel Ravelli

Count me in. His arrangement of "Shenandoah" is meditative and absolutely gorgeous.


There's a transcription of that piece on keithjarrett.org

http://www.keithjarrett.org/transcriptions/


Thanks. I downloaded it some time ago. Hearing it again makes me want to learn it instead of just playing through it.


Phil Bjorlo
#2109735 - 06/28/13 02:04 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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" Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever?"

That would be a resounding no.

I prefer Arthur Rubenstein playing, well anything else.


Laguna Greg

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#2109744 - 06/28/13 02:23 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: BrainCramp]  
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Originally Posted by BrainCramp

I listened to Shenandoah and Old Man River. The problem I had was that I couldn't entirely divorce the music from the lyrics in my mind. They are ballads, after all, not piano ballades.

I think Jarrett was playing those songs too slowly for them to be sung by anyone but a very accomplished singer. So they seemed odd to me.







#2109759 - 06/28/13 02:53 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: BrainCramp]  
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Originally Posted by BrainCramp
I listened to Shenandoah and Old Man River. The problem I had was that I couldn't entirely divorce the music from the lyrics in my mind. They are ballads, after all, not piano ballades.
Couldn't one say that about an instrumental version of any famous song?

Originally Posted by BrainCramp
I think Jarrett was playing those songs too slowly for them to be sung by anyone but a very accomplished singer. So they seemed odd to me.
Shenandoah seems at a standard tempo to me. I haven't listened to Old Man River for a while, but I've never had any thought that it might be slower than usual.

#2109761 - 06/28/13 02:57 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: RealPlayer]  
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Originally Posted by RealPlayer
I've been wanting to hear those because people rave about his playing so often. And I agree, it's lovely, sensitive playing (I liked some of those more than others).
Could you share a little about which you liked more and why?

#2109949 - 06/28/13 09:31 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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..however, I must say that I like all the Aaron Copland arrangements of the same songs much better, sung by Renee Flemming or Leontyne Pryce.

...better than anything Jarret has recorded so far, to be clear.


Laguna Greg

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#2110027 - 06/29/13 12:52 AM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: laguna_greg]  
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Pianoluvr,

How many threads did you post this question on? I found it in the Non-Classical forum.

You knew we would not be open to the comparison anyway, didn't you???

Let me be clear when I say that Jarrett is a minor talent, whose recording of the Goldberg Variations was at best boring, trite, and not very well played. I've had (yet-to-be-trained) students who played it with more insight and elan vital. While Jarrett has a modicum of musicianship, and some technical ability, more than one needs in jazz, I don't have any great respect for his playing, or his music-making. I would not go out of my way to buy one of his disks. As a matter of fact, I don't think I own ANY of his recordings!!! Out of 1,500+!!! And I own jazz recordings!!! And I teach Jazzers!!!

No matter what, I'm always thrilled, on the whole, when any pianist of meager stature manages to establish a career for themselves before the public, even it's some non-entity hack talent like Andrew Lloyd Weber.

And having said that, there are SO MANY OTHER PIANISTS I'D RATHER LISTEN TO!!!

(...you can't be serious...)

Try again...


Laguna Greg

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#2110028 - 06/29/13 12:55 AM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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"Could you share a little about which you liked more and why?"

Don't bother. Really.

Are you just trying to find excuses why you (Pianoluvr) don't like Mitsuko Uchida? Are you trying to find reasons why you don't like Gary Graffman? Or Marthe Argerich?

Please, go back to the non-classical forum, and keep your discussion there where it belongs.


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#2110035 - 06/29/13 01:20 AM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: Polyphonist]  
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I don't know Keith Jarrett's playing. I will need to listen tomorrow.

Originally Posted by Polyphonist

I think I'm more interested in ballade players than ballad players, to be quite honest. wink


Zimerman playing the fourth ballade is quite nice, eh? smile

#2110075 - 06/29/13 05:19 AM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: laguna_greg]  
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Originally Posted by laguna_greg
Are you just trying to find excuses why you (Pianoluvr) don't like Mitsuko Uchida? Are you trying to find reasons why you don't like Gary Graffman? Or Marthe Argerich?

Please, go back to the non-classical forum, and keep your discussion there where it belongs.
I've made thousands of posts in the classical forum that make it clear how I feel about classical music.

Two of the most outstanding professional classical pianists at PW have already commented on this thread how much they like Jarrett. I also posted my OP on the non classical forum because I was interested in comments from those who frequent that forum also.


Last edited by pianoloverus; 06/29/13 05:40 AM.
#2110078 - 06/29/13 05:30 AM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: laguna_greg]  
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Originally Posted by laguna_greg
Pianoluvr, How many threads did you post this question on? I found it in the Non-Classical forum.
So?

Originally Posted by laguna_greg
You knew we would not be open to the comparison anyway, didn't you???
What comparison?

Originally Posted by laguna_greg
Let me be clear when I say that Jarrett is a minor talent, whose recording of the Goldberg Variations was at best boring, trite, and not very well played. I've had (yet-to-be-trained) students who played it with more insight and elan vital. While Jarrett has a modicum of musicianship, and some technical ability, more than one needs in jazz, I don't have any great respect for his playing, or his music-making.
It's a fact that Jarrett's playing moves many people, and he is world renown for his ballad playing. You obviously don't think so, but why you would choose to express your opinion in such a nasty way is puzzling.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 06/29/13 05:39 AM.
#2110183 - 06/29/13 12:05 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: laguna_greg]  
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Originally Posted by laguna_greg
"Could you share a little about which you liked more and why?"

Don't bother. Really.

Are you just trying to find excuses why you (Pianoluvr) don't like Mitsuko Uchida? Are you trying to find reasons why you don't like Gary Graffman? Or Marthe Argerich?

Please, go back to the non-classical forum, and keep your discussion there where it belongs.

Greg, are you the same person who wrote those many thoughtful and insightful posts on the "Rotation (Sources and Commentary)" thread? Or are you really the person you appear to be here and in "Five Most Difficult Piano Pieces" - overbearing, strident, and nasty? The contrast is so stark, I can't believe these are the same two people.

So, will the real laguna_greg please step forward? I'm hoping it'll be the thoughtful, insightful one, and not the snarky one.

#2110309 - 06/29/13 05:57 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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I can't say that I'm 'overwhelmed' by Jarrett's playing of ballads, but then the music itself isn't exactly my cup of tea either - well, maybe as background music before bedtime, perhaps. They are rather somnambulistic....

I do actually own a Keith Jarrett CD - his Köln concert, which I bought out of curiosity (as one does wink ). After one hearing, I didn't bother to listen again.

His Shostakovich Preludes & Fugues (of which I've heard a few) don't stand comparison with Tatiana Nikolayeva, Richter, Ashkenazy or Melnikov.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2110311 - 06/29/13 06:12 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: Old Man]  
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OldMan: There did seem to be a sudden change and a great difference. Either someone has tapped into his account, or he just gets into different ways at different times.

#2110314 - 06/29/13 06:25 PM Re: Is Keith Jarrett the greatest solo ballad player ever? [Re: bennevis]  
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Originally Posted by bennevis

I do actually own a Keith Jarrett CD - his Köln concert, which I bought out of curiosity (as one does wink ). After one hearing, I didn't bother to listen again.

That has always been very controversial. Jarrett's improvs unfold -or is accretion a better word- at a very leisurely pace, but a number of Baby Boomer friends (including an organist at one of the cathedrals in the UK) have told me that they have an astounding cumulative effect.

With due respect to Jarrett, this is one of my absolute favourite recordings, IMO unmatched by anyone:



Quote
His Shostakovich Preludes & Fugues (of which I've heard a few) don't stand comparison with Tatiana Nikolayeva, Richter, Ashkenazy or Melnikov.

I don't know Jarrett's recordings of those, but I HAVE heard Nikolayeva and Askenazy. Seems unfair to compare Jarrett with those titans.


Jason
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