Keith Jarrett – The Melody At Night, With You (1999)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Melody at Night, with You is a solo album by American pianist Keith Jarrett recorded at his home studio in 1998 and released on the ECM label in 1999. It was recorded during his bout with chronic fatigue syndrome and was dedicated to Jarrett’s second and then-wife, Rose Anne: “For Rose Anne, who heard the music, then gave it back to me”.

In an interview in Time magazine in November 1999, he explained ″I started taping it in December 1997, as a Christmas present for my wife. I’d just had my Hamburg Steinway overhauled and wanted to try it out, and I have my studio right next to the house, so if I woke up and had a half-decent day, I would turn on the tape recorder and play for a few minutes. I was too fatigued to do more. Then something started to click with the mike placement, the new action of the instrument,… I could play so soft,… and the internal dynamics of the melodies… of the songs… It was one of those little miracles that you have to be ready for, though part of it was that I just didn’t have the energy to be clever.″

The album contains eight jazz standards, two traditional songs, and, uncharacteristically for Jarrett, only one improvisation (“Meditation”, the second half of track six).

The album was very successful commercially, becoming one of the best-selling jazz instrumental albums of the 2000s, and winning a number of awards; The second track, “I Got It Bad (and That Ain’t Good)”, was nominated for the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo.

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The critical reception was more mixed, however, with some critics praising its intimacy, while others criticized its simplicity. On the negative side, the Allmusic review by Richard S. Ginell awarded the album 2½ stars (out of 5) and states, “these performances lack color, contrast and life; and while you pull for Jarrett to summon the energy to make music again, the results are touching for awhile [sic] but soon pall”. On the positive side, it was ranked the #2 Jazz album in the Down Beat “Critics Poll 2000”, and Entertainment Weekly rated it an “A”. (by wikipedia)

Tender is the night on what is, perhaps, Keith Jarrett’s most intimate album. It is comprised of solo piano renderings of jazz ballads and folk songs, recorded at home and played with unmistakable affection. Jarrett dispenses with the jazz soloist’s conventional emphasis on dexterity, the ‘clever’ phrase, the virtuosic sleight-of-hand. Instead he strips these songs to their melodic essence and, gently, lays bare their emotional core. (press release)

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Personnel:
Keith Jarrett (piano)

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Tracklist:
01. I Loves You, Porgy (Gershwin/Heyward) 5.46
02. I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) (Ellington/Webster) 7.07
03. Don’t Ever Leave Me (Hammerstein II/Kern) 2.43
04. Someone To Watch Over Me (Gershwin) 5.04
05. My Wild Irish Rose (Traditional) 5.20
06. Blame It On My Youth/Meditation (Heyman/Levant/Jarrett) 7.15
07. Something To Remember You By (Dietz/Schwartz) 7.12
08. Be My Love (Brodszky/Cahn) 5.37
09. Shenandoah (Traditional) 5.49
10. I’m Through With Love (Kahn/Livingston/Malneck) 2.50

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