Keith Jarrett - Encore at Sapporo, from the Sun Bear Concerts
The other night, my mood at its highest while various medications ebbed to their lowest levels of the day and I video-chatted with Abby, this song provoked in me a giddiness I can’t describe. There brevity of its rhythmics, its quantized beat bouncing quickly between poles of darkness and light, animated my limbs in parodic but felicitous form, and Abby laughed for a few minutes while I danced, pointed to the forms and shapes appearing and vanishing in the sound stream, and barked idiotically: “Right? Right?”
After a slow start, this has a tempo and emphasis which seems to work for me, but that’s not of general interest; what might be is that Jarrett suffers the sort of catastrophic improvisational collapse approximately halfway through that musicians know well: the mind, spinning elaborations and ideas from a central structure, loses its place suddenly and overruns. In this case, just after introducing a compelling, brightly engaging new idea, he begins a run that grows shaky, and initiating a second run he essentially adds too many beats, comes apart, attempts to recover, cannot, and then seems despairingly unable to escape a single note.
There’s not really anywhere to hide.