For a band destined to be so influential, led by a pianist who is certainly not shy of the recording process, Keith Jarrett’s so-called European quartet was parlously under-documented.
Two studio albums, Belonging (1974) and My Song (1977) and a single live recording, Nude Ants (1979) made at New York’s Village Vanguard, were all that Jarrett and producer Manfred Eicher saw fit to release at the time. But the studio albums in particular were of such a high quality, so totally original in their conception, so utterly, heart-openingly beautiful, they were enough to establish the quartet as one of the most influential acoustic units to emerge from the otherwise fusion-soaked 1970s.
Formed around Jarrett’s bravura playing and writing, the group featured three then little-known Scandinavian musicians: saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Palle Danielsson and drummer Jon Christensen. The Europeans seemed to have a liberating effect on the Pennsylvania pianist.
Even now, with more than 50 other ECM recordings to his name, among them some of the most celebrated jazz albums of the post-Coltrane era, Jarrett stands out for his playing with the European quartet – joyous, exuberant flights of pure melodic invention, imbued with a bright-eyed romanticism that is rare in modern jazz.
Also known as the Scandinavian quartet, Jarrett’s alliance with Jan Garbarek (tenor and soprano sax), Palle Danielsson (bass), and Jon Christensen (drums) stood in smooth contrast to the American quartet’s restlessness. Common to both groups was Jarrett’s brilliant writing and a few free and ethnic tangents. Their first album Belonging was recorded in the heyday of the American quartet, but they only became a working unit after the Americans had dissembled. Considering all the compositions Jarrett wrote for both groups, it cements him as one of the most creative jazz artists of the 1970s, all without playing a lick of fusion. (by jazzshelf.org)
And here´s a brilliant live recording from this “European quartet”… a broadcast recording, live at the Funkhaus, Studios 1, Hannover … recorded by the German radio station “NDR”.
Listen and you´ll know why I think and feel, that this is timeless music !
Jon Christensen (drums)
Palle Danielsson (bass)
Jan Garbarek (saxophone)
Keith Jarrett (piano)
01. Introduction (in German) 0.35
02. Belonging 5.03
03. Spiral Dance 13.53
04. Blossom 15.50
05. Give Me Your Ribbons And I’ll Give You My Bows 7.53
06. The Windup 13.37
07. Long As You Know You’re Living Yours 17.13
08. Mandala 7.23
09. Solstice 14.44
Music composed by Keith Jarrett