Jim Baker – A Steel Guitar Christmas (1975)

frontcover1Baker was born July 26, 1933 in Eldridge, Ala. and grew up in Flint, Mich. He moved to Nashville in 1963 after serving in the U.S. Army. Baker was a steel guitar player as a youth and later played Dobro and pedal steel guitar in Nashville. He played the Grand Ole Opry throughout the early part of his career and was a member of the Mel Tillis Statesiders Band in the early 1970s. He played on numerous country albums and was in steady demand as a steel session player. Ernie Ashworth, Mel Tillis, Jim and Jessie, Bill Carlisle, Roy Drusky, Justin Tubb and Leroy Van Dyke were among the artists Baker played with.

Pedal steel player Jim Baker, 75, who played on the Grand Ole Opry and with Mel Tillis’ band died Oct. 5.2008 (by countrystandardtime.com)

This is his christmas album and this will be the last entry of christmas music this year !

Enjoy the beautiful sound of the steel-guitar !


Kim Baker (steel-guitar)


01. White Christmas 2.15
02. Winter Wonderland 2.15
03. Blue Christmas 2.21
04. Christmas Song 2.03
05. Little Drummer Boy 2.00
06. O’ Little Town Of Bethlehem 2.49
07. Silver Bells 2.48
08. Silent Night 2.01
09. Christmas In My Hometown 2.00
10. Jingle Bell Rock 1.54
11. Here Comes Santa Clause 2.15
12. Rock Around The Christmas Tree 2.42





Kenny Wheeler – Gnu High (1975)

frontcover1When Kenny Wheeler expatriated from his native Canada to England, it was not headline news. But upon the release of Gnu High, he became a contemporary jazz figure to be recognized, revered and admired. Playing the flugelhorn exclusively for this, his ECM label debut, Wheeler’s mellifluous tones and wealth of ideas came to full fruition. Whether chosen in collaboration with label boss Manfred Eicher or by Wheeler alone, picking pianist Keith Jarrett, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Jack DeJohnette was a stroke of genius. They support the elongated and extended notions of Wheeler’s in many real and important ways. What is also extant is a sense of self-indulgence, real for listeners with short attention spans.

“Heyoke” is such a piece rife for this discussion at nearly 22 minutes. This lilting waltz is at once atmospheric and soulful, a fairly fresh and inventive style turned more dramatic near the finish of this magnum opus. It’s all fueled by the reinvented swing of DeJohnette. Jarrett’s vocal whining is kept in check, as his pretty pianistics buoy Wheeler’s notions in Zen inspired time and eventually no time improvisations.

kennywheeler01“Gnu Suite” is similarly rendered in an unforced 4/4 rhythm, but Wheeler is more animated. There’s a plus-plus solo from Holland before the group merges into a floating and flowing discourse again in free time.

The special track is “Smatter” and at just under six minutes works better, not only for radio airplay, but also in its concise melodic construct by means of the regal and happy persona Wheeler portrays. Pure melody and a repeated anchoring seven-note phrase insert sets this tune apart from the rest.

It also clearly identifies the warm and cool stance only Wheeler wields, making seemingly simple music deep and profound. Certainly this was an auspicious starting point, albeit long winded, for a magical performer whose sound and smarts captured the imagination of so many fellow musicians and listeners from this point onward. (Michael G. Nastos)


Jack DeJohnette (drums)
Dave Holland (bass)
Keith Jarrett (piano)
Kenny Wheeler (flugelhorn)


01. Heyoke  21.47
02. ‘Smatter 5.56
03. Gnu Suite  12.47
All tracks composed by Kenny Wheeler



Miles Davis – Agharta (1975)

FrontCover1Along with its sister recording, Pangaea, Agharta was recorded live in February of 1975 at the Osaka Festival Hall in Japan. Amazingly enough, given that these are arguably Davis’ two greatest electric live records, they were recorded the same day. Agharta was performed in the afternoon and Pangaea in the evening. Of the two, Agharta is superior. The band with Davis — saxophonist Sonny Fortune, guitarists Pete Cosey (lead) and Reggie Lucas (rhythm), bassist Michael Henderson, drummer Al Foster, and percussionist James Mtume — was a group who had their roots in the radically streetwise music recorded on 1972’s On the Corner, and they are brought to fruition here. The music on Agharta, a total of three tunes spread over two CDs and four LP sides, contains the “Prelude,” which clocks in at over a half-hour. There is “Maiysha” from Get up With It and the Agharta “Interlude,” which segues into the “Theme From Jack Johnson.” The music here is almost totally devoid of melody and harmony, and is steeped into a steamy amalgam of riffs shot through and through with crossing polyrhythms, creating a deep voodoo funk groove for the soloists to inhabit for long periods of time as they solo and interact with one another.


Davis’ band leading at this time was never more exacting or free. The sense of dynamics created by the stop-start accents and the moods, textures, and colors brought out by this particular interaction of musicians is unparalleled in Davis’ live work — yeah, that includes the Coltrane and Bill Evans bands, but they’re like apples and oranges anyway. Driven by the combination of Davis’ direction and the soloing of Sonny Fortune and guitarist Pete Cosey, who is as undervalued and underappreciated for his incalculable guitar-slinging gifts as Jimi Hendrix is celebrated for his, and the percussion mania of Mtume, the performance on Agharta is literally almost too much of a good thing to bear. When Cosey starts his solo in the “Prelude” at the 12-minute mark, listeners cannot be prepared for the Hendrixian energy and pure electric whammy-bar weirdness that’s about to come splintering out of the speakers. As the band reacts in intensity, the entire proceeding threatens to short out the stereo. These are some of the most screaming notes ever recorded. Luckily, since this is just the first track on the whole package, Davis can bring the tempos down a bit here and there and snake them into spots that I don’t think even he anticipated before that afternoon (check the middle of “Maiysha” and the second third of “Jack Johnson” for some truly creepy and beautiful wonders). While Pangaea is awesome as well, there is simply nothing like Agharta in the canon of recorded music. This is the greatest electric funk-rock jazz record ever made — period. (by Thom Jurek)


Pete Cosey (guitar, percussion, synthesizer)
Miles Davis (organ, trumpet)
Sonny Fortune (saxophone, flute)
Al Foster (drums)
Michael Henderson (bass)
Reggie Lucas (guitar)
James Mtume (percussion, rhythm box, water drums)


01. Prelude (Part 1) 22.34
02. Prelude (Part 2) / Maiysha 23.01
03.Interlude 26.17
04. Theme from Jack Johnson 25.59

All compositions written by Miles Davis



Elkie Brooks – Rich Man’s Woman (1975)

FrontCover1Rich Man’s Woman is the first album by Elkie Brooks.

Brooks’ first solo album was released in 1975 in a blaze of publicity and a promotional week at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London. Recorded as a rock album in the vein of her work with Vinegar Joe, A&M Records were unhappy with the direction and decided to tone the album down, producing unsatisfactory results and an album in which Brooks lost faith. The picture sleeve featuring a semi-naked Brooks caused outrage at the time and remains controversial.[citation needed]

Despite an initial marketing campaign, both A&M and Elkie decided to stop promoting the work and to focus on her follow-up album, Two Days Away. (by wikipedia)

For more years than it would be polite to recall, Elkie Brooks has been too much of an underground heroine among students of lady rock singers. Now, at long last, she has delivered the album which can shoot her to international acclaim, and establish her, finally, as perhaps the finest rock singer Britain has produced.
Long before Vinegar Joe, itself a fine band, Elkie paid her dues as a jazz singer in various bands, and now the years of experience, together with her unique  power, reaches fruition with a simply stunning album.

Elkie Brooks01
But power, so often the only asset of lady rockers, is not played up by Elkie to the detriment of her intrinsic bluesy feeling. She has always displayed taste, even as a bawdy rocker, and taste is the hallmark of this immaculately-produced album.
To make it, Elkie went to Los Angeles and received  accompaniment from some inspired musicians, and some immensely careful production by Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise, who have been closely connected    with Gladys Knight’s records. The result: nine tracks without one duff moment.
The opener, “Where Do We Go From Here (Rich Man’s Woman)”, is one of five written by Elkie – another aspect of her progression – and gets the album off to a startling momentum. It’s a rock track with fine control, and never goes over the top, which could easily have happened; it also has a fine hook-line.
“Roll Me Over” is an example of Elkie’s  jazz leanings, and “One Step On The Ladder” is a bright commentary on what is happening to her at this moment. “Try A Little Loving” shows her tender songwriting capabilities, as well as her imaginative sense of delivery.
But “Jigsaw Baby” is the absolute high spot on this album. The aforementioned Brooks-written songs come nowhere near this gem – a richly-experienced  piece, again autobiographical, with a delightful melody line. Her singing is superb here, and contains the sort of inflections that could only come from an artist grounded in jazz, because the pace of the song is so hard to control.

AlternateFront+BackCoverAlternate front + back cover

Leo Sayer’s “Tomorrow” gets a vital new treatment, and she has a stab at “He’s A Rebel” – an unfortunate choice, but we’ll let that one pass. The vocal backings are excellent, and include Clydie King and Venetta Fields plus Jim Gilstrap.
The track record of female rock singers through the years has been fairly bleak, but this goes a long way to redress the balance. It will stand as one of the finest albums of the year. Patriotism, I know, is the last refuge of the scoundrel, but this time, go and buy British.
At least it was made in the States. Seriously – an exceptional album, (Melody Maker, November 1975 )

And “Where Do We Go From Here (Rich Man’s Woman) ” is one of the best songs Elkie Brooks ever recorded !

Elkie Brooks02

Elkie Brooks (vocals)
Steve Burgh (guitar)
Bruce Foster (keyboards)
David Kemper (drums)
Dennis Kovarik (bass)
Ben Benay (guitar)
Max Bennett (bass)
Mike Boddicker (synthesizer)
Alan Estes (percussion)
Gene Estes (percussion)
John Guerin (drums)
David Paich (keyboards)
Nino Tempo (saxophone)
background vocals:
Stan Farber – Venetta Fields – Gerry Garrett – Jim Gilstrap – Ron Hicklin – Clydie King – Gene Marford – Verlene Rogers – Jenny Whitman


01. Where Do We Go From Here (Rich Man’s Woman) (Brooks) 3.45
02. Take Cover (Brown/Lloyd) 3.03
03. Jigsaw Baby (Brooks/Foster) 5.18
04. Roll Me Over (Brooks)  3.02
05. He’s A Rebel (Pitney) 2.55
06. One Step On The Ladder (Brooks) 5.24
07. Rock And Roll Circus (Segarini) 4.21
08. Try A Little Love (Brooks) 3.54
09. Tomorrow (Courtney/Sayer) 3.59




Alvin Lee – One More Chance (1975)

FrontCover1This recording came from a show in London, culled from one of Alvin Lee’s tours after initially leaving Ten Years After. In the same year, he crossed the pond to embark on a number of gigs for his first U.S. solo tour. Lee had done an astounding 28 U.S. tours in only seven years with TYA, and he had exploded on movie screens everywhere as part of the Woodstock documentary, so audiences everywhere were very familiar with Lee and his music.

Although TYA had seen enormous success as a live act and, to a lesser degree, as a studio band, Lee had stayed with the group longer than he felt he should have. Having been pigeon-holed into the bass-guitar-drums-organ instrumentation, and playing mostly 12-bar blues progressions, he became musically bored.

Lee departed the group in early 1974, and after releasing a country-rock album, On the Road to Freedom, with gospel singer Mylon LeFevre and a bevy of top-notch guest musicians, he put together Alvin Lee and Company. They did their first show at London’s Rainbow Theater in 1974 on a dare, but the gig turned out so well that Lee released it as the double-LP In Flight. The band, which included former Humble Pie keyboardist Tim Hinkley and ex-members of Joe Cocker’s Grease Band, would remain Lee’s touring and recording band for several years after these tracks were cut.


Source: alvinlee.de

So, this is another rare Albin Lee bootleg (thanks to Oh Boy records !) and this is the other side of Alvin Lee … an real beautiful side !


Tim Hinkley (keyboards)
Neil Hubbard (guitar)
Alvin Lee (guitar, vocals)
Alan Spenner (nass)
Ian Wallace (drums)
Background vocals:
Dyan Birch – Frank Collins – Paddie McHugh


The wrong picture(booklet: Ten Years Later from 1978

01. Let The Sun Burn Down (Lee)  6.25
02. You Told Me (Lee) 3.58
03. How Many Times (Lee) 2.59
04. Going Through The Door (Lee) 5.40
05. I’ve Got Eyes For You, Baby     2:35
06. Ride My Train (Lee) 7.56
07. Julian Rice (Lee) 5.29
08. One More Chance (Lee) 4.15
09. Rock ‘N Roll (Lee) 5.56
10, Johnny B. Goode (Berry) 3.50



Patti Smith – Horses (1975)

FrontCover1Horses is the debut studio album by American musician Patti Smith, released on December 13, 1975 on Arista Records. Smith, a fixture of the then-burgeoning New York punk rock music scene, began recording Horses with her band in 1975 after being signed to Arista Records, with John Cale being enlisted to produce the album. With its fusion of simplistic rock and roll structures and Smith’s freeform, Beat poetry-infused lyrics, Horses was met with widespread critical acclaim upon its initial release. Despite a lack of airplay or a popular single to support the album, it nonetheless experienced modest commercial success, managing a top 50 placing on the US Billboard 200.

Horses has since been viewed by critics as one of the greatest and most influential albums in the history of American punk rock movement, as well as one of the greatest albums of all time. Horses has also been cited as a key influence on a number of succeeding punk, post-punk, and alternative rock acts, including Siouxsie and the Banshees, R.E.M., The Smiths, and Garbage.

At the time she recorded Horses, Patti Smith and her band were favorites in the New York underground club scene along with acts such as Blondie and the Ramones.

According to Smith, Horses was a conscious attempt “to make a record that would make a certain type of person not feel alone. People who were like me, different… I wasn’t targeting the whole world. I wasn’t trying to make a hit record.” Guest musicians on the album included Tom Verlaine of Television and Allen Lanier of Blue Öyster Cult.

In Smith’s own words, Horses was conceived as “three-chord rock merged with the power of the word”. Steve Huey of AllMusic calls Horses “essentially the first art punk album.” Smith and her band’s sound, spearheaded by the rudimentary guitar work of Lenny Kaye, drew on the simple aesthetics of garage rock, and the group’s use of simplistic chord structures was emblematic of the punk rock scene associated with the band. Smith, however, used such structures as a basis for lyrical and musical improvisation in the album’s songs, diverging from other contemporary punk acts who generally shied away from solos. Horses drew on genres such as rock and roll, reggae, and jazz. “Redondo Beach” features a reggae backing track, while “Birdland” owed more to jazz, which Smith’s mother enjoyed, than to the influence of punk. When recording the latter song, which was improvised by the band in Electric Lady Studios, Smith has said she imagined the spirit of Jimi Hendrix watching her.

Reflecting Smith’s background as a poet, the album’s lyrics channel the French Symbolism movement, incorporating influences from the works of Charles Baudelaire, William Blake, and Smith’s long-time idol Arthur Rimbaud,[8] and recall the “revolutionary spirit” of Rimbaud and resonate with the energy of Beat poetry, according to CMJ’s Steve Klinge. Several of the album’s songs—”Redondo Beach”, “Free Money”, “Kimberly”—were inspired by moments with members of Smith’s family, while others—”Break It Up”, “Elegie”—were written about her idols. “Break It Up” was about Jim Morrison, deceased lead singer of The Doors, and it was a combination of Smith’s dream about him and her visit of Morrison’s grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.[10] The lyrics of “Birdland” are based upon A Book of Dreams, a 1973 memoir of Wilhelm Reich by his son Peter. Horses features two adaptations of songs by other artists: “Gloria”, a radical retake on the Them song incorporating verses from Smith’s own poem “Oath”,[6] and “Land”, already a live favorite, which features the first verse of Chris Kenner’s “Land of a Thousand Dances” and contains a tribute to Arthur Rimbaud.


The cover photograph for Horses was taken using natural light by American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, a close friend of Smith’s, at the Greenwich Village penthouse apartment of his partner Sam Wagstaff. Smith is depicted wearing a plain white shirt which she had purchased at the Salvation Army on the Bowery and slinging a black jacket over her shoulder and her favorite black ribbon around her collar. Embedded on the jacket is a horse pin that Smith’s friend Allen Lanier had given her. Smith has described her pose on the cover as “a mix of Baudelaire and Sinatra.” The record company wanted to make various changes to the photo, but Smith overruled such attempts. The black and white treatment and unisex pose were a departure from the typical promotional images of “girl singers” of the time, but Smith maintains that she “wasn’t making a big statement. That’s just the way I dressed.”

Writer Camille Paglia described the album’s cover as “one of the greatest pictures ever taken of a woman.”

Upon initial release, Horses was met with near-universal acclaim from music critics and publications. In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, John Rockwell wrote that Horses is “wonderful in large measure because it recognizes the over-whelming importance of words” in Smith’s work, covering a range of concerns “far beyond what most rock records even dream of”, and highlighted Smith’s adaptions of rock standards as the most striking songs on the record. Robert Christgau gave Horses an A– grade in The Village Voice and remarked that while the album does not capture Smith’s humor, it “gets the minimalist fury of her band and the revolutionary dimension of her singing just fine.” He later ranked it at number 38 on his list of the best albums of the 1970s.

Patti Smith in recording studio recording her debut album, Horses, 1975, NYC

Horses’ mix of philosophical elements in Smith’s songwriting and rock and roll elements in its music attracted some polarizing reactions, however. Reaction to the album from the British music press in particular was mixed. A review of Horses from Melody Maker dismissed the album as “precisely what’s wrong with rock and roll right now.” On the other hand, Jonh Ingham of Sounds published a five-star review of Horses, naming it “the record of the year” and “one of the most stunning, commanding, engrossing platters to come down the turnpike since John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band”. Charles Shaar Murray of NME called it “an album in a thousand” and “an important album in terms of what rock can encompass without losing its identity as a musical form, in that it introduces an artist of greater vision than has been seen in rock for far too long.”

At the end of 1975, Horses was voted the second best album of the year, behind Bob Dylan and The Band’s The Basement Tapes, in the Pazz & Jop, an annual poll of American critics nationwide, published in The Village Voice. NME placed it at number thirteen on their year-end list of 1975’s best albums. Commercially, the album performed modestly well, managing a top 50 peak on the Billboard 200 chart despite receiving virtually no airplay.

Chris Jones of BBC Music wrote that the album was a “shock to the system” at the time of its release and still “retains its power to this day.” Horses established Smith as one of the biggest names of the New York punk rock scene, alongside contemporary acts such as the Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads, and it has since been cited as the first significant punk rock album.[38] Horses is considered one of the key recordings of the early punk rock movement[39] and a landmark for punk and new wave music in general, inspiring a “raw, almost amateurish energy for the former and critical, engaging reflexivity for the latter,” according to writer Chris Smith in his book 101 Albums That Changed Popular Music.[25] AllMusic’s William Ruhlmann said that it “isn’t hard to make the case for Patti Smith as a punk rock progenitor based on Horses”, while Greg Simpson of Punknews.org called the album a “raw yet poetic slice of the CBGB’s scene from a woman who beat the Ramones in releasing the first ‘punk’ record.”

Single: “Gloria” bw “My Generation”

Q magazine included it in its list of the 100 greatest punk albums. NME put Horses at first place in its list of “20 Near-as-Damn-It Perfect Initial Efforts”, and it has also ranked on various lists of the greatest albums of the 1970s. In addition to these accolades, Horses has also been considered one of the finest albums in recorded music history. In 2003, the album was ranked number 44 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2006, Time named it as one of the All-TIME 100 Albums, and three years later, it was preserved by the Library of Congress into the National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Various recording artists have specifically named Horses as an influence on their music. English post-punk band Siouxsie and the Banshees said that the song “Carcass” from their album The Scream, was inspired by Horses. Michael Stipe of R.E.M. bought the album as a high school student and says that it “tore [his] limbs off and put them back on in a whole different order,” citing Smith as his primary inspiration for becoming a musician. Morrissey and Johnny Marr shared an appreciation for the record, and one of their early compositions for The Smiths, “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle”, is a reworking of “Kimberly”. Courtney Love of Hole has stated that Horses helped inspire her to become a rock musician. (by wikipedia)


Jay Dee Daugherty (drums)
Lenny Kaye (guitar, bass guitar, background vocals)
Ivan Kral (bass, guitar, background vocals)
Patti Smith (vocals, guitar)
Richard Sohl (keyboards)
John Cale (bass on 09.)


01. Gloria (In Excelsis Deo/Gloria (Version) (Smith/Morrison) 5.57
02. Redondo Beach (Smith/Sohl/Kaye) 3.26
03. Birdland (Smith/Sohl/Kaye/Kral) 9.15
04. Free Money (Smith/Kaye) 3.52
05. Kimberly (Smith/Lanier/Kral) 4.27
06. Break It Up  (Smith/Verlaine) 4.04
07. Land (Part I: “Horses”; Part II: “Land of a Thousand Dances”; Part III: “La Mer(de)”)     Smith (Parts I and III), Chris Kenner (Part II), Fats Domino (Part II)     9:25
08, Elegie (Smith/Lanier) 2.57
09. My Generation (live at the Agora, Cleveland, Ohio, on January 26, 1976) (Townshend)    3.16


Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine
Meltin’ in a pot of thieves
Wild card up my sleeve
Thick heart of stone
My sins my own
They belong to me, me

People say ‘beware!’
But I don’t care
The words are just
Rules and regulations to me, me

I-i walk in a room, you know I look so proud
I’m movin’ in this here atmosphere, well, anything’s allowed
And I go to this here party and I just get bored
Until I look out the window, see a sweet young thing
Humpin’ on the parking meter, leanin’ on the parking meter
Oh, she looks so good, oh, she looks so fine
And I got this crazy feeling and then I’m gonna ah-ah make her mine
Ooh I’ll put my spell on her

Here she comes
Walkin’ down the street
Here she comes
Comin’ through my door
Here she comes
Crawlin’ up my stair
Here she comes
Waltzin’ through the hall
In a pretty red dress
And oh, she looks so good, oh, she looks so fine
And I got this crazy feeling that I’m gonna ah-ah make her mine

And then I hear this knockin’ on my door
Hear this knockin’ on my door
And I look up into the big tower clock
And say, ‘oh my God here’s midnight!’
And my baby is walkin’ through the door
Leanin’ on my couch she whispers to me and I take the big plunge
And oh, she was so good and oh, she was so fine
And I’m gonna tell the world that I just ah-ah made her mine

And I said darling, tell me your name, she told me her name
She whispered to me, she told me her name
And her name is, and her name is, and her name is, and her name is G-l-o-are-i-a

I was at the stadium
There were twenty thousand girls called their names out to me
Marie and Ruth but to tell you the truth
I didn’t hear them I didn’t see
I let my eyes rise to the big tower clock
And I heard those bells chimin’ in my heart
Going ding dong ding dong ding dong ding dong.
Ding dong ding dong ding dong ding dong
Counting the time, then you came to my room
And you whispered to me and we took the big plunge
And oh. you were so good, oh, you were so fine
And I gotta tell the world that I make her mine make her mine
Make her mine make her mine make her mine make her mine

G-l-o-are-i-a Gloria G-l-o-are-i-a Gloria G-l-o-are-i-a Gloria

And the tower bells chime, ‘ding dong’ they chime
They’re singing, ‘Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.’

Gloria G-l-o-are-i-a Gloria G-l-o-are-i-a Gloria G-l-o-are-i-a,

Keith Jarrett – The Köln Concert (1975)

FrontCover1The Köln Concert is a concert recording by the pianist Keith Jarrett of solo piano improvisations performed at the Opera House in Cologne (German: Köln) on January 24, 1975. The double-vinyl album was released in the autumn of 1975 by the ECM Records label to critical acclaim, and went on to become the best-selling solo album in jazz history, and the all-time best-selling piano album, with sales of more than 3.5 million.

The concert was organized by 17-year-old Vera Brandes, then Germany’s youngest concert promoter. At Jarrett’s request, Brandes had selected a Bösendorfer 290 Imperial concert grand piano for the performance. However, there was some confusion by the opera house staff and instead they found another Bösendorfer piano backstage – a much smaller baby grand – and, assuming it was the one requested, placed it on the stage. Unfortunately, the error was discovered too late for the correct Bösendorfer to be delivered to the venue in time for the evening’s concert. The piano they had was intended for rehearsals only and was in poor condition and required several hours of tuning and adjusting to make it playable.[8] The instrument was tinny and thin in the upper registers and weak in the bass register, and the pedals did not work properly. Consequently, Jarrett often used ostinatos and rolling left-hand rhythmic figures during his Köln performance to give the effect of stronger bass notes, and concentrated his playing in the middle portion of the keyboard. ECM Records producer Manfred Eicher later said: “Probably [Jarrett] played it the way he did because it was not a good piano. Because he could not fall in love with the sound of it, he found another way to get the most out of it.”

Jarrett arrived at the opera house late in the afternoon and tired after an exhausting long drive from Zürich, Switzerland, where he had performed a few days earlier. He had not slept well in several nights and was in pain from back problems and had to wear a brace. After trying out the substandard piano and learning a replacement instrument was not available, Jarrett nearly refused to play and Brandes had to convince him to perform as the concert was scheduled to begin in just a few hours.[6] The concert took place at the unusually late hour of 23:30, following an earlier opera performance. This late-night time slot was the only one the administration would make available to Brandes for a jazz concert – the first ever at the Köln Opera House. The show was completely sold out and the venue was filled to capacity with over 1,400 people at a ticket price of 4 DM ($1.72). Despite the obstacles, Jarrett’s performance was enthusiastically received by the audience and the subsequent recording was acclaimed by critics. It remains his most popular recording and continues to sell well, decades after its initial release.


The performance was recorded by ECM Records engineer Martin Wieland, using a pair of Neumann U-67 vacuum-tube powered condenser microphones and a Telefunken M-5 portable tape machine. The recording is in three parts: lasting about 26 minutes, 34 minutes and 7 minutes respectively. As it was originally programmed for vinyl LP, the second part was split into sections labelled “IIa” and “IIb”. The third part, labelled “IIc”, was actually the final piece, a separate encore.

A notable aspect of the concert was Jarrett’s ability to produce very extensive improvised material over a vamp of one or two chords for prolonged periods of time. For instance, in Part I, he spends almost 12 minutes vamping over the chords Am7 (A minor 7) to G major, sometimes in a slow, rubato feel, and other times in a bluesy, gospel rock feel. For about the last 6 minutes of Part I, he vamps over an A major theme. Roughly the first 8 minutes of Part II A is a vamp over a D major groove with a repeated bass vamp in the left hand, and in Part IIb, Jarrett improvises over an F# minor vamp for about the first 6 minutes.

KeithJarrett1975_03Subsequent to the release of The Köln Concert, Jarrett was asked by pianists, musicologists and others, to publish the music. For years he resisted such requests since, as he said, the music played was improvised “on a certain night and should go as quickly as it comes.”[9] In 1990, Jarrett finally agreed on publishing an authorized transcription but with the recommendation that every pianist intending to play the piece should use the recording itself as the final word. A new interpretation of The Köln Concert was published in 2006 by Polish pianist Tomasz Trzcinski on his album Blue Mountains. A transcription for classical guitar has also been published by Manuel Barrueco.

The album was included in Robert Dimery’s 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Subtle laughter may be heard from the audience at the very beginning of Part I, in response to Jarrett’s quoting of the melody of the signal bell which announces the beginning of an opera or concert to patrons at the Köln Opera House, the notes of which are G D C G A.

Unlike the other parts of this concert, Part IIc, the encore, was based on a precomposed tune, the form and melody of which can be found in certain Real Book compilations as “Memories of Tomorrow”. This was and remains common practice for Jarrett. Note, for example, that his encores for performances in Bremen (released on Solo Concerts: Bremen/Lausanne) and Tokyo (The Last Solo) are on the same vamp-based tune. He is also fond of closing his solo concerts with Tin Pan Alley standards, particularly “Over the Rainbow”. (by wikipedia)

Recorded in 1975 at the Köln Opera House and released the same year, this disc has, along with its revelatory music, some attendant cultural baggage that is unfair in one sense: Every pot-smoking and dazed and confused college kid — and a few of the more sophisticated ones in high school — owned this as one of the truly classic jazz records, along with Bitches Brew, Kind of Blue, Take Five, A Love Supreme, and something by Grover Washington, Jr. Such is cultural miscegenation. It also gets unfairly blamed for creating George Winston, but that’s another story. What Keith Jarrett had begun a year before on the Solo Concerts album and brought to such gorgeous flowering here was nothing short of a miracle. With all the tedium surrounding jazz-rock fusion, the complete absence on these shores of neo-trad anything, and the hopelessly angry gyrations of the avant-garde, Jarrett brought quiet and lyricism to revolutionary improvisation. Nothing on this program was considered before he sat down to play. All of the gestures, intricate droning harmonies, skittering and shimmering melodic lines, and whoops and sighs from the man are spontaneous. Although it was one continuous concert, the piece is divided into four sections, largely because it had to be divided for double LP. But from the moment Jarrett blushes his opening chords and begins meditating on harmonic invention, melodic figure construction, glissando combinations, and occasional ostinato phrasing, music changed. For some listeners it changed forever in that moment. For others it was a momentary flush of excitement, but it was change, something so sorely needed and begged for by the record-buying public. Jarrett’s intimate meditation on the inner workings of not only his pianism, but also the instrument itself and the nature of sound and how it stacks up against silence, involved listeners in its search for beauty, truth, and meaning. The concert swings with liberation from cynicism or the need to prove anything to anyone ever again. With this album, Jarrett put himself in his own league, and you can feel the inspiration coming off him in waves. This may have been the album every stoner wanted in his collection “because the chicks dug it.” Yet it speaks volumes about a musician and a music that opened up the world of jazz to so many who had been excluded, and offered the possibility — if only briefly — of a cultural, aesthetic optimism, no matter how brief that interval actually was. This is a true and lasting masterpiece of melodic, spontaneous composition and improvisation that set the standard. (by Thom Jurek)


Keith Jarrett (piano)


01. Part I 26.01
02. Part IIa 14.54
03. Part IIb 18.13
04. Part IIc 6.56

All compositions by Keith Jarrett