Jarrett believes this two-CD Montreux live performance from 2001 catches his famous Standards Trio (on their 18th recording) at their most buoyant, and he has a point. The pianist has pulled this group to the edge of free-jazz at times, but if this performance stays close to songs, they're not only Broadway standards and jazz classics such as Miles Davis's Four and Monk's Straight No Chaser, but also Fats Waller stride classics given a thumping ragtime momentum. Jarrett can be a solemn performer, but there's a joyful bounce about much of this music, from his flowing Bill Evans-ish expansion of Four over Jack DeJohnette's flickering cymbals and Gary Peacock's rock-solid walk, through bustling accounts of Oleo and The Song Is You, to the long stride section (never explored on record by this group before) that ends up turning into a DeJohnette-dominant Straight No Chaser, featuring some of the most time-stretching and open group-improv on the set. A beautifully weighted and sparingly distilled account of Only the Lonely closes a show that emphasises how much invention continues to be at this long-standing trio's fingertips.
CD: Keith Jarrett Standards Trio, My Foolish Heart
John Fordham is the Guardian's main jazz critic. He has written several books on the subject, reported on it for publications including Time Out, Sounds, Wire and Word, and contributed to documentaries for radio and TV. He is a former editor of Time Out, City Limits and Jazz UK, and regularly contributes to BBC Radio 3's Jazz on 3