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Keith Jarrett|Sun Bear Concerts

Sun Bear Concerts

Keith Jarrett

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During the 1970s, solo piano box sets were rare. When Keith Jarrett's monolithic, ten-LP solo box, Sun Bear Concerts, arrived from ECM in 1978, the only comparable collection was The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, a six-disc set of the pianist's '50s sides. Jarrett's five Japanese concerts from November of 1976 in Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Tokyo, and Sapporo were completely improvised and gloriously recorded by engineer Okihiro Sugano. Most jazz critics greeted it as a seminal work that set Jarrett apart from his peers. When he hits a mysterious minor ninth to open the first concert in Kyoto, all bets are off. For nearly 80 minutes he balances tension with release, the pastoral with the cosmopolitan. He asks harmonic questions and develops non-conclusive answers, and melds emotion, technique, and inspiration in a dazzling, deeply moving display of virtuosity and inexhaustible creativity. The Osaka concert commences with inquisitive lyrical ideas before spiraling off in several directions. He investigates swing, stride, blues, bop, vanguard modal interludes, folk traditions, and pop songs, and briefly evokes Aaron Copland. Jarrett creates cascading rhythmic pulses and expansive harmonies that elude genre and resist reduction. In Nagoya, classical motifs -- romantic and modernist -- are developed with a rich, inquisitive interior logic that never forsakes musicality, even when pursuing the Muse toward dissonance during the final third. In Tokyo, Jarrett meanders for a time, offering one musical ellipsis after another until 12 minutes in, when he slips through the boundary with a series of five-note clusters. Then he's off and running across jazz piano history, nodding at Vince Guaraldi, Dmitri Shostakovich, Lead Belly, Debussy, Jerome Kern, and others before stripping his process down to its essences. It's the most rewarding show in the set, though not necessarily the easiest to listen to. In Sapporo, Jarrett is effusive. He delves into non-Western harmonic approaches, explores the piano's lower-middle register exhaustively, and finds lyricism between empty and dissonant spaces. For over 75 minutes he punctuates these explorations with dramatic glee, and often hums along. The Sun Bear Concerts offers a pinnacle of jazz improvisation.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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Sun Bear Concerts

Keith Jarrett

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1
Kyoto, November 5, 1976 (Part 1)
00:43:49

Keith Jarrett, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Shinji Ohtsuka, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1978 ECM Records GmbH, under exclusive license to Universal Music Classics & Jazz - a division of Universal Music GmbH

2
Kyoto, November 5, 1976 (Part 2)
00:34:04

Keith Jarrett, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Shinji Ohtsuka, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1978 ECM Records GmbH, under exclusive license to Universal Music Classics & Jazz - a division of Universal Music GmbH

DISC 2

1
Osaka, November 8, 1976 (Part 1)
00:38:53

Keith Jarrett, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Shinji Ohtsuka, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1978 ECM Records GmbH, under exclusive license to Universal Music Classics & Jazz - a division of Universal Music GmbH

2
Osaka, November 8, 1976 (Part 2)
00:31:08

Keith Jarrett, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Shinji Ohtsuka, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1978 ECM Records GmbH, under exclusive license to Universal Music Classics & Jazz - a division of Universal Music GmbH

DISC 3

1
Nagoya, November 12, 1976 (Part 1)
00:35:30

Keith Jarrett, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Shinji Ohtsuka, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1978 ECM Records GmbH, under exclusive license to Universal Music Classics & Jazz - a division of Universal Music GmbH

2
Nagoya, November 12, 1976 (Part 2)
00:39:55

Keith Jarrett, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Shinji Ohtsuka, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1978 ECM Records GmbH, under exclusive license to Universal Music Classics & Jazz - a division of Universal Music GmbH

DISC 4

1
Tokyo, November 14, 1976 (Part 1)
00:40:19

Keith Jarrett, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Shinji Ohtsuka, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1978 ECM Records GmbH, under exclusive license to Universal Music Classics & Jazz - a division of Universal Music GmbH

2
Tokyo, November 14, 1976 (Part 2)
00:35:21

Keith Jarrett, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Shinji Ohtsuka, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1978 ECM Records GmbH, under exclusive license to Universal Music Classics & Jazz - a division of Universal Music GmbH

DISC 5

1
Sapporo, November 18, 1976 (Part 1)
00:40:59

Keith Jarrett, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Shinji Ohtsuka, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1978 ECM Records GmbH, under exclusive license to Universal Music Classics & Jazz - a division of Universal Music GmbH

2
Sapporo, November 18, 1976 (Part 2)
00:33:54

Keith Jarrett, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Shinji Ohtsuka, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1978 ECM Records GmbH, under exclusive license to Universal Music Classics & Jazz - a division of Universal Music GmbH

DISC 6

1
Encore From Sapporo
00:10:48

Keith Jarrett, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Shinji Ohtsuka, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1978 ECM Records GmbH, under exclusive license to Universal Music Classics & Jazz - a division of Universal Music GmbH

2
Encore From Tokyo
00:08:16

Keith Jarrett, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Shinji Ohtsuka, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1978 ECM Records GmbH, under exclusive license to Universal Music Classics & Jazz - a division of Universal Music GmbH

3
Encore From Nagoya
00:04:01

Keith Jarrett, Composer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer - Shinji Ohtsuka, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1978 ECM Records GmbH, under exclusive license to Universal Music Classics & Jazz - a division of Universal Music GmbH

Album Description

During the 1970s, solo piano box sets were rare. When Keith Jarrett's monolithic, ten-LP solo box, Sun Bear Concerts, arrived from ECM in 1978, the only comparable collection was The Tatum Solo Masterpieces, a six-disc set of the pianist's '50s sides. Jarrett's five Japanese concerts from November of 1976 in Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Tokyo, and Sapporo were completely improvised and gloriously recorded by engineer Okihiro Sugano. Most jazz critics greeted it as a seminal work that set Jarrett apart from his peers. When he hits a mysterious minor ninth to open the first concert in Kyoto, all bets are off. For nearly 80 minutes he balances tension with release, the pastoral with the cosmopolitan. He asks harmonic questions and develops non-conclusive answers, and melds emotion, technique, and inspiration in a dazzling, deeply moving display of virtuosity and inexhaustible creativity. The Osaka concert commences with inquisitive lyrical ideas before spiraling off in several directions. He investigates swing, stride, blues, bop, vanguard modal interludes, folk traditions, and pop songs, and briefly evokes Aaron Copland. Jarrett creates cascading rhythmic pulses and expansive harmonies that elude genre and resist reduction. In Nagoya, classical motifs -- romantic and modernist -- are developed with a rich, inquisitive interior logic that never forsakes musicality, even when pursuing the Muse toward dissonance during the final third. In Tokyo, Jarrett meanders for a time, offering one musical ellipsis after another until 12 minutes in, when he slips through the boundary with a series of five-note clusters. Then he's off and running across jazz piano history, nodding at Vince Guaraldi, Dmitri Shostakovich, Lead Belly, Debussy, Jerome Kern, and others before stripping his process down to its essences. It's the most rewarding show in the set, though not necessarily the easiest to listen to. In Sapporo, Jarrett is effusive. He delves into non-Western harmonic approaches, explores the piano's lower-middle register exhaustively, and finds lyricism between empty and dissonant spaces. For over 75 minutes he punctuates these explorations with dramatic glee, and often hums along. The Sun Bear Concerts offers a pinnacle of jazz improvisation.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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