So you think you have a pretty fair idea of what a new Keith Jarrett album will sound like. Perhaps you assume the only relevant question is whether it is a solo piano or a trio one. What if I told you it is solo, but it contains virtually no keyboard of any sort? “Ah!” you think. “He’s gone back to the soprano saxophone.” Wrong again.
It’s time to stop guessing, because you’ll never pick that this double album has him primarily playing electric guitar, electric bass, drums and percussion. Not only that, but the pieces are the sort of loose rock/funk/country jams that were popular around 1968-74, when certain substances made the soloist’s imagination seem rather more limitless to him or her than was actually the case.
Jarrett was never a drug-taker, but he did fall into the Haight-Ashbury scene in the hippy heyday, and perhaps he was having a happy flashback in 1986 when he recorded this, layer by analogue layer, in his home studio.
Yes, the music meanders or runs into imagination cul de sacs on occasion. But it’s downright intriguing just to hear Jarrett doing this: to hear what a groovy one-man rhythm section he can be, over which his spidery guitar solos climb and sun themselves. Why, he even tells us in a sleeve note to “play this music LOUD”.