Artist: Noah Haidu
Album: Slowly: Song for Keith Jarrett
Label: Sunnyside Records
Year Of Release: 2021
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)
01. Air Dancing (Williams) – 10:38
02. Duchess (Hart) – 9:14
03. What a Difference a Day Makes (Grever) – 10:08
04. Rainbow (Jarrett)/Keith Jarrett (Haidu) – 12:32
05. Georgia (Carmichael) – 7:33
06. Slowly (Haidu) – 5:36
07. Lorca (Hart) – 10:24
08. But Beautiful (Van Heusen) – 9:51
Keith Jarrett’s work in general and his solo piano concerts in particular had a serious impact on the entire jazz community – from musicians to the writing fraternity, and especially on his colleagues in the instrument. Among those who fell under … no, not even the charm, but the magic of Jarrett’s music, there was also a pianist from New York, Noah (in Russian it will be just “Noah”) Haidu.
This musician, who once studied with Kenny Barron at Rutgers University, was a “rising star” at the very beginning of the tenth years, and today, at forty-nine, is a very prominent figure on the jazz scene of the Big Apple. A number of his recent works, especially the multimedia project “Doctone”, received excellent press. Surely the album “Slowly: Song for Keith Jarrett” dedicated to Keith Jarrett will also not go unnoticed.
This project has a special history. According to Haidu himself, according to tradition, he and his father went out every year to listen to Jarrett’s concert. But my father became seriously ill. A couple of weeks before his death, he handed Noah the tickets and offered to go to Jarrett with someone else. And it so happened that this concert turned out to be Jarrett’s last public performance. The sad news about Keith’s illness served as an impetus for Haidu to record an album dedicated to an outstanding master. The release of “Slowly: Song for Keith Jarrett” took place on May 7: Haidu and the chief of the Sunnyside Records label Francois Zalaken timed this event to the 75th anniversary of Jarrett.
To record such an important work, Noah attracted one of the best rhythm groups of modern jazz – double bassist Buster Williams and drummer Billy Hart. The project was born in the covid 2020. The first attempt to get together for recording was thwarted by lockdown, and the musicians made a second and successful attempt at the end of November. With great precautions, in masks, they recorded this impressive in volume and very curious in content album.
Of course, the trio format in the context of the tribute album brings back memories of Jarrett’s classic Standards Trio featuring double bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette. But there are also significant differences: Hyde and his colleagues selected one piece by Jarrett himself for recording – “Rainbow”, and the musicians performed it in conjunction with Noah’s composition “Keith Jarrett”, built on a very elastic, almost fatal rhythm. The rest of the program consists of compositions by Hyde, Williams and Hart, as well as three jazz standards. The musicians tried to convey their respect for Keith not formally (by performing his music), but creatively – exploring the very spirit of Jarrett’s music. Best of all, perhaps, they managed it in the standards. A perfect example is “What a Difference a Day Makes”: Noah and his partners turned an old melody from 1934 into a ten-minute improvisational piece, without distorting the original by a single note. That’s how Keith Jarrett himself played the standards. And Haidu’s titular piece “Slowly” is the author’s reflections on the legendary solo concerts of Keith, which, of course, it was impossible to pass by in this work.
Whether the tribute turned out to be judged by connoisseurs of Jarrett’s work. It is possible that the album will seem complicated to neophytes, but his fans can get real pleasure from the dedication album.