Throughout history there has always existed this notion that the artist doesn’t create so much as he or she is a conduit for divine inspiration or energy that is transmitted through them, rendered in a particular medium, and made part of our physical world.
Hindu, Buddhist, and yogic philosophies all day that if we could just calm the constant, niggling chatter of our minds we could hear the messages relayed to us by the universe.
Keith Jarrett sought to do this as a musician when he left the employ of Miles Davis, where he played electric piano and organ in 1971,and in the same year sat in a German studio and recorded Facing You, an album of brief improvisations on an acoustic piano.
Soon after he was driving across Europe playing improvised concerts in a style that fused modern jazz gospel, classical, folk, and maybe a touch of rock and roll.
Solo Concerts: Bremen/Lausanne was released in 1973 as a three record vinyl box set. The music transcends category and Jarrett did too. His solo concerts took on a meditative vibe and were attended by young people who didn’t typically listen to jazz or classical.
The most amazing thing is the way that Jarrett takes the music from a boogie ostinato to a more impressionistic feel, to the florid romanticism of Tchaikovsky, to a tonality down home gospel, all without seeming forced or contrived. It’s difficult to imagine, even now, that his command of the keyboard is such that he is playing what he thinks as he is thinking it.
But maybe it’s not thinking at all. Maybe Jarrett is lost in a meditative trance and he’s merely relaying the thoughts of the universal mind. He hints at this in the liner notes:
I don’t believe I can create, but that I can be a channel for the Creative. I do believe in the Creator, and so in reality this is his album through me to you, with as little in between as possible on this media-conscious earth.
His 1975 release, Köln Concert, is legendary because the piano was poor, and Jarrett was exhausted and hungry, yet the performance is transcendent. And it is a great album. But for my money, Bremen /Lausanne is every bit as good and sounds amazing