Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio, with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette, have made a lot of records since their debut in 1983 - but such is their inventiveness and improvisational exuberance that only the most churlish would claim the world doesn't need any more. This set of show-tunes and jazz vehicles is taken from their 2001 trip to Japan. It reflects the group's playful lightness and softer touch, as well as their pleasure in exploring such early styles as stride piano - but it also sustains Jarrett's legendary capacity for improvising as if bar-lines and chorus-breaks were simply there to be brushed aside. Shaw 'Nuff is an uptempo flyer; Yesterdays and You've Changed are delicious mood pieces; Scrapple from the Apple deceptively spreads out the swing pulse, then hauls it back together. The real bonus is a soundcheck recording of Stella By Starlight, in which the group sounds so effortlessly locked into its smoking four-four that it's almost like a jazz-grooving meditation that could go on forever.
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