Keith Jarrett comes back to London

The American pianist will set his concert at the Royal Festival Hall

Keith Jarret — photo Rose Anne Jarret / ECM Records

On Friday 20th November the Royal Festival Hall will host Keith Jarrett and his Solo Piano Concert. This performance will be part of the annual edition of the EFG London Jazz Festival, which takes place between the 13th and the 22nd of this month.

Keith Jarrett returns to the RFH for an exclusive performance for the first time since 2013. Billed as “The Solo Piano Concert,” he sold out in just a few days after his announcement. This is going to be one of the most important concerts of “not just the world’s greatest piano player but our greatest living musician”, as The Guardian’s Geoff Dyer has written.

As in Keith Jarrett’s most famous solo concerts, the Solo Piano Concert will feature an entire evening of improvisations. Two sets with intermissions that will help to redefine the elliptical role of piano in contemporary music.

With his most famous solo performance, The Koln Concert, turning 40 since its release, Jarrett is still recognised as one of the most innovative and all-round artists of our times. Universally acclaimed by the critics as an unsurpassed improviser, over the past 45 years his solo piano concerts have incorporated a wide panorama of musical languages, which are both intimate and intensely universal.

Cormac Larkin of The Irish Times, referring to the pianist’s upcoming concert at the National Concert Hall in Dublin on Thursday 17th, has written that “seventy years after his birth, and 40 years after his Köln Concert raised the art of solo piano to undreamt-of heights, Keith Jarrett remains the pre-eminent improviser on his instrument, capable of profoundly moving, spontaneous compositions”.

Keith Jarret — photo Rose Anne Jarret / ECM Records

Considering his 70th year, the American jazzman has programmed a strict number of performances for his tour. The London night will be the third of a series of four in November. Jarrett will end this year’s performances with a closing night at the Teatro dell’ Opera in Florence on the 23rd. The Solo Concert tour has opened on March 3rd in the historic atmosphere of the Carnegie Hall in New York, followed by two other performances in May, at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, and at the Kultur und Kongresszentrum in Lucerne.

Early this year, after ending his long term collaboration with the Standards Trio, formed with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, Jarrett has celebrated his 70th birthday with the release of his latest collection of solo piano live recordings. Nine improvised pieces, from Part I to Part IX, recorded in six different performances in four cities and five halls. In Creation,the recording of the concertos of two of the greatest composers from the 20th century, Bela Bartòk, Samuel Barber, and other solo improvisations are fixed together for what is going to be, maybe, one of Keith Jarret’s last live recordings.

His last appearance in London in 2013 has been one of the biggest triumphs in the last decade for Keith Jarrett, for his “variety, spontaneity, and heart-stopping delicacy — as well as a growing warmth, not only in the music, but in some unexpectedly genial conversation with his listeners”, as The Guardian’s John Fordham has defined it.

Ultimately, for jazz lovers and for all music fans, the EFG London Jazz Festival has reserved ten days of special events that take places all over the City. Aside from Keith Jarrett’s awaited show, another date to keep in mind is November 18th; two days before Jarret, the passionate and incendiary Japanese jazz pianist Hiromi Uehara will electrify the atmosphere of the Royal Festival Hall

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