This album captures Keith Jarrett on German radio in 1972, shortly before his landmark solo gig in Cologne. It’s an unbridled excursion for the mindblowingly intuitive trio of Jarrett, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Paul Motian. Jarrett plays flute and wild soprano saxophone at times, and there’s plenty of piano virtuosity, full of typically slashing long lines and methodical buildups, some gospel-like Jarrett funk (Take Me Back), and slowly massaged ballads. Haden and Motian constantly anticipate him. The tonal freedom and uninhibitedness give this set a different kind of power – audible in Jarrett’s Coleman-phrased soprano-sax solo over Haden’s hurtling bass-walk on Piece for Ornette, and the long multiphonic howls against dissonant bowed-bass chords and Motian’s slams and rattles on the intense Song for Che. It’s the remarkable work of a trio in tune with each other – and with the spirit of their time.
Jarrett/Haden/Motian: Hamburg ’72 review – a trio at their most uninhibited
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