Keith Jarrett is one of the most unique multi-instrumentalist musicians of modern jazz. Jarett is best known as an unrivalled improviser. He has earned a reputation as a demanding performer and perfectionist, only performing when there is total silence so as not to interrupt the momentum of his musical improvisation. His work draws inspiration from across all genres and musical styles, from Moussorgsky, Scriabine and Satie, gospel, ragtime and the music of Bud Powell, Bill Evans and Horace Silver.
Keith Jarrett was an extremely precocious child, he was introduced to the piano at the age of three and gave his first concert just four years later. In 1962 he publicly performed his own compositions for the first time and received a scholarship to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He however quickly left this institution, finding it rigid and unrewarding, and settled in New York. For several months he played with drummer Art Blakey and his band The Jazz Messengers. Keith Jarrett recorded his first album Buttercorn Lady with them in 1966. He then quickly gained popularity as a pianist with the quartet of saxophonist Charles Lloyd. In 1968, Jarrett created his first trio with Charlie Haden on bass and Paul Motian on drums; Dewey Redman later joined them on saxophone. Keith Jarrett also played with Miles Davis' band, during this period; this experience made him stop using electronics in his own music.
Although Keith Jarrett is most associated with the world of jazz, he has also performed as a classical soloist. In 1987, he gave a celebrated performance of Bartok's Second Piano Concerto and Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier; he has also performed works by Arvo Pärt and Alan Hohvaness. Jarett has composed works for large orchestras and chamber orchestras such as In The Light, Luminessence and The Celestian Hawk. After his famous Köln Concert, in 1972, which in many ways launched his career, he also began to tour internationally.
Keith Jarrett continued to tour widely in the 1980s, giving both classical and jazz concerts. He was however forced to largely withdraw from the musical world in the 1990s, when he began to suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. He has since given only occasional, exceptional performances and released two albums Rio and Somewhere.
Six Landmark Dates in the Life of Keith Jarrett
1964 : Moved to New York and joins Art Blakey's band as a pianist
1966 : Recorded his album Buttercorn Lady with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
1972 : Gave his famous Köln Concert
1987 : Recorded The Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach
1996 : Began to suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
2003 : Received the Polar Music Prize
Six Key Albums by Keith Jarrett
1967 Life Between the Exit Signs
1975 Köln Concert
1980 G.I. Gurdjieff: Sacred Hymns
1988 Paris Concert
2013 No End (Solo Album featuring several instruments)