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Keith Jarrett

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Keith Jarrett is one of the great pianists of our times. Before achieving worldwide fame for his solo improvisations, he had already collaborated with Art Blakey, Charles Lloyd and Miles Davis. His 'Köln Concert' album (1975) has now sold around four million copies and become the most successful solo recording in jazz history. His interpretations of the music of Bach, Händel, Bartók or Shostakovich, have also received much attention in later years. Jarrett is considered difficult and inaccessible, and has often abandoned the stage during his concerts due to restless audiences or disturbing photographers. Only few writers have come as close to Keith Jarrett as Wolfgang Sandner, who has not only been following Jarrett's remarkable career from the nineteen-sixties onward, but has actually had the opportunity to visit him in his home in Oxford, New Jersey. Sandner squelches some legends here, such as the one concerning Jarrett's alleged Hungarian Roma family background. For this biography, which is full of detailed musical analyses and cross-references to other artistic genres, Wolfgang Sandner has also collected new information about the origins of Jarrett's paternal family from today's Baden-Württemberg region in Germany – this, not least, thanks to the translator, Keith Jarrett's youngest brother Chris. This English edition is a significantly extended and updated version of the German original as concerns important aspects of Keith Jarrett's life and work.

Published: Nov 5, 2020


Section Chapter Authors
Preface Wolfgang Sandner
Foreword Wolfgang Sandner
Overture Wolfgang Sandner
Chapter 1
Growing up in Allentown Wolfgang Sandner
Chapter 2
Three Steps to Jazz: Art - Charles - Miles Wolfgang Sandner
Chapter 3
Ideal Partnership Wolfgang Sandner
Chapter 4
The Formative Years Wolfgang Sandner
Chapter 5
Winding Paths to Musical Mastership Wolfgang Sandner
Chapter 6
Limitless Soloist Wolfgang Sandner
Chapter 7
Grandeur and Crisis Wolfgang Sandner
Chapter 8
The History of a Cult Recording Wolfgang Sandner
Chapter 9
America's Songbook Wolfgang Sandner
Chapter 10
The Jazz Man as Classical Musician Wolfgang Sandner
Chapter 11
The Complete Artist Wolfgang Sandner
Chapter 12
Objection Wolfgang Sandner
Epilogue Wolfgang Sandner
Discography Wolfgang Sandner


Reviews of the German edition:

Not only does Sandner's knowledge include an overview of Jarrett's own work and the history of jazz, from which source Jarrett's artistry streams; but it is wide enough to include the whole history of culture into which his music flows. Wolfgang Sandner does more than sort Jarrett's recordings into categories of jazz, musical and cultural history, he invites the reader to a new and deeper listening experience and paves the way for an understanding that exceeds the purely emotional.
Wolfram Knauer

Wolfgang Sandner has brilliantly disproved the notion that writing about music is as impossible as dancing architecture.

Sandner is exactly the right person for this meticulous and pioneering task. His perceptions are as wise and well-informed as they are enthusuastic and unerring.
Die Zeit

One is inclined to describe Sandner as this pianist's verbal alter ego. Like Jarrett, the cosmopolitan Sandner digs deeply into the material, displays virtuosity in comparisons taken from the spheres of art and cultural history, and can get as much caught up into hymnic Gospel fury with his meticulous characterizations as the great man does at the piano.
Die Welt

Wolfgang Sandner's book, however, is quite different. Naturally, it touches upon the most important matters in life, but, above this, the writng is musical in the poetic sense. It seems as if the language of this book has been adapted to match the pianist's own style.
Süddeutsche Zeitung