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Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden Last Dance (ECM)

Keith Jarrett

Keith Jarrett

& Charlie Haden

Last Dance

(ECM)

WITH double bassist Charlie Haden's death last month, this album has become an unexpected epitaph for a musician who began singing in his family's country music group as a toddler and went on to co-pilot some of jazz's boldest moves. He also enjoyed a long, highly creative relationship with Jarrett, being in the pianist's first trio in the 1960s and his 1970s American quartet, and contributing to Jarrett's magisterial orchestral work, the recently reissued Arbour Zena. Last Dance does indeed dance, not least on Bud Powell's intricate but nimbly executed Dance Of The Infidels, but mostly it's a musical conversation between two old friends who follow the twin philosophies that if you're going to interpret songs instrumentally, you still need to know the words, and that playing together means listening to each other. Haden is both foundation and foil for Jarrett's brilliant lyricism as they find inspiration in the Great American Songbook, meaning every note of My Old Flame and the elegiac Goodbye.

Rob Adams

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