In his first solo concert recording in five years, Keith Jarrett once again makes history. The La Scala concert was the first recital ever given by an improvising musician in the world's most famous opera house. The concert - an instant press sensation - comprises two moving sets of solo improvisation, and Jarrett's most loved encore: the classic tune "Over the Rainbow."
For this live solo concert (recorded at the Teatro alla Scala in Milano, Italy and released in 1997), pianist Keith Jarrett performs two lengthy improvisations simply titled "La Scala, Parts I and II." Most of the music is quite lyrical and romantic. The first part (which lasted nearly 45 minutes) does have a section using a droning rhythm reminiscent of American Indian music before resolving back into a ballad. The second section (a mere 27½ minutes) starts out dissonant, gradually evolves into a peaceful section, and then concludes with the original dissonant ideas. As an encore, Jarrett performs a melodic and very beautiful six-minute rendition of "Over the Rainbow," receiving a well-deserved thunderous ovation at its conclusion. The music overall develops slowly but always holds one's interest, reinforcing one's viewpoint of Keith Jarrett as one of the top pianists of the 1980s and '90s.
AMG review by Scott Yanow
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