Something Else! sneak peek: Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette, “Deep Space/Solar” (2013)

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For most musicians and singers alike, mining those great American standards can only get you so far before it begins to sound tired and rote. For thirty years running, the greatest living jazz trio is still mining that gold vein while keeping it fresh and vital. That’s a big part of the reason why Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette make up that greatest living jazz trio.

Miles Davis’ blue, post bop number “Solar” is a classic of the jazz canon, and the rendition I think of as definitive was performed by the greatest deceased jazz trio, Bill Evans with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian. “Solar” has been covered by Jarrett’s group innumerable times, and even recorded and released on a couple of occasions already. The latest one is forthcoming on their newest live album, Somewhere, culled from a 2009 concert in Luzern, Switzerland.

The Luzern performance of “Solar” is a bonus rendition because it begins with one of Jarrett’s spontaneous music making on solo piano, named “Deep Space.” “Deep Space” isn’t really a fully formed song, it’s a launching pad to “Solar” and scarcely two minutes into this deliberative improv, some hints of the cover begin to pop up, fully transitioning over to it about thirty seconds later. From that point on, the melody gets explored from many directions, and the unmatched telepathy of the three takes over. Jarrett distributes funky phrases and liquid single line runs with supreme assuredness, Peacock makes active, edgy bottom end counterpoints and DeJohnette lays down his signature tom-tom/cymbal groove, just like he did on a memorable take of “Autumn Leaves” some nineteen years earlier.

The song has a quarter-hour running time, yet it doesn’t feel like it was long enough because of the vigor, inventiveness and sheer virtuosity they put into the song. After thirty years, it’s probably just another day at the office for Keith Jarrett’s Standard trio. And a day at the beach for everyone else.

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Somewhere, by ECM Records, is slated for release on May 28. The video above is of an earlier performance of the song discussed in this article.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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