Keith Jarrett @ carnegie hall, jan 16, 2011

Mary took me to carnegie hall, my christmas present, last night to see and hear  Keith Jarrett play a concert. i’ve never heard one of his concerts in person just on records and cds. it’s real nice to be in a relationship with someone who cares about you and is willing to share and experience something you care about. i highly recommend it.

we had a japanese dinner compliments of a friend them walking up the few blocks to carnegie hall. mary pushing me, the slow poke, along as the tickets said no late seating or intermission and who wants to miss a concert you pay top dollar to hear. but we along with lots of other people arrive in plenty of time to find our seats and settle in.

we were in the first row which surprised me. i don’t think i’ve ever been in the first row for anything before. it did take some getting use to looking up at the bottom of the 9 foot steinway but that’s what it was. well we sat there reading our programs along with everyone else in the hushed concert hall. i finally asked mary what time it was as i had left my phone at home and she had turned hers off. 8:15pm

a few minutes later i guess after 8:20 keith strolled out on stage to a round of applause and talked a bit about the first thoughts  at that time were ‘you’re late’ after asking us to be on time what were you doing backstage what was so important that you couldn’t start on time? i can understand a few minutes late but. in order to enjoy the concert i let all this go out in the cold night where it belonged.

he began by telling  a story about the poet robert bly asking him to play for a poetry reading of his reading joseph campbell’s work. the jest of the story was about how we don’t know each other until private moments and exchanges reveal themselves. that i understood and was willing to forget about him being late.

then keith walked to the piano and started playing. lovely music, no titles just music. i listened and could actually hear the dimensionality of the notes as they were played. with the piano horizontal with the stage i could actually hear the difference of notes closer to me on the sound board than the ones farther away. that was amazing no question about it.

it didn’t distract from the music being played just added to the whole experience. what we did miss being so close to the stage was the resonance of carnegie hall itself. but hey can’t have everything.

after a time keith got up and walked off stage. nobody knew if the concert was over or what. no just an intermission, guess his fingers get tired. it was a nice seventh inning stretch for everyone. after about 15 or 20 minutes keith came back out finished making the point of the robert bly story and sat down to continue.

lovely music including a very soft piece were it happend……someone coughed or maybe a couple people coughed…..keith stopped playing, sat there for a moment, made a quick comment and walked off stage. WTF happened we thought? i can understand loosing concentration or your train of thought during these improvisations but i don’t think it’s the audience fault. after all mr. jarrett is a grown man of 60 some years.

a few moments later mr. jarrett walks back on stage and address us via the standing mike about him being disturbed by us then going off on a tangent about ‘ how he’s the only one who couldn’t leave.’ my thoughts were ‘hell you can leave at any time’ i didn’t come here to hear some rude remarks to embarrass an audience member implying they should leave the concert hall.he totally lost me as an audience member. i really felt like shouting out ‘then you leave so i can go home.’

then all i could think about was the pianist glen gould how much he hated touring drafty concert hall and hotel rooms. so he quite doing it. if mr. jarrett gets so distracted by audience members then he should just stay in the recording studio. after all it was him and his production company who was recording this concert. oh that’s right he couldn’t leave because he had a record deal and probably a clause in his contract to play for a certain amount of minutes.

his childlike tirade just turned me off to him. it seemed after that he would play a couple of songs then walk off stage wait then come back stand by his piano only to walk of stage again, toying with us. but the people around me all stood up applauding shouting as if his antics were forgotten. i felt he should have just sat down and played what he wanted then gone home. no games. we were all grownups there, well some of us were.

he just couldn’t let the cough go because before playing another piece he had to bitterly comment this was a soft song to which i thought ‘what an ass.’

i can understand being upset with  the people taking pictures after being ask not to. idiots i thought, it’s all about them, the me generation. they even took pictures of the piano sitting there on stage during intermission. being there isn’t enough for them? but then later that night we got a lecture from mr. jarretts manager for the picture taking, but not everybody or most and certainly not all of us took pictures, heck i left my cell phone at home. so why include us, mary and i in this?

then Keith came to the mike and said that it’s not that he doesn’t like his picture taken but it is distracting to see the red lights and flashes go off.  And that people should remember that they should be enjoying the moment and that just because they have the technology in hand (cell phones and digital cameras) that they should leave the photography to the people who have learned how to take pictures.

mary says she will buy this cd because she liked the music, i’ll listen to his music but won’t buy it with my money.

but a lovely evening spent with my honey abet a very cold walk home but we had each other to hold close.

see nytimes review


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