Monday, July 14, 2014

Charlie Haden & Keith Jarrett : Last Dance - DownBeat

Charlie Haden/Keith Jarrett
Last Dance

There is an uncomfortable finality to the title of this album - a finality that seems tacked on long after the recording date. Closing with Gordon Jenkins' "Goodbye" doesn't help. These informal duo sessions were recorded seven years ago, prior to Haden's much publicized health setbacks, and serve as a sequel to the 2010 duet release, Jasmine.

Jarrett and Haden go back much further than that, though. They first played together on record in the 1960s and all of the tunes on this album could have just as easily been played at that first dance.  With a few exceptions, slow and low is the tempo for the session with lengthy ballads like "Everything Happens To Me" and "Every Time We Say Goodbye" treated to passionate and achingly deliberate explorations.

Jarrett and Haden stretch out without feeling long-winded. They take their time through a setlist that feels driven by an open-ended feeling of, "Well, how about...?" The album is poignant and romantic, drifting along in no particular rush aside from one track - a lively take on Bud Powell's "Dance of the Infidels." Jarrett swings jauntily, dropping staccato clumps with his left hand while Haden walks. A 12-minute version of "It Might As Well Be Spring" follows and it is gorgeous in its unhurried familiarity.

There are some recording lineups that are simply impossible to imagine and then there are records liket his.  Anyone with a cursory familiarity with these two elder statesmen will not be surprised by these performances, but they will be completely satisfied.

Haden & Jarrett @ DownBeat

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