Jasmine (ECM)

Keith Jarrett / Charlie Haden

Released May 7, 2010

Jazzwise Top 10 Releases of 2010

JazzTimes Top 10 Albums of 2010

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An intimate new disc by two of jazz’s most influential players, heard here with a programme of love songs and standards. “Jasmine” is the first recorded collaboration between Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden in more than thirty years. The last time they were together on record was on the live “Eyes of the Heart” disc, recorded 1976, a document from the final days of Jarrett’s great American Quartet (with Haden, Paul Motian and Dewey Redman), the group which also gave us the epochal “Survivors Suite”.
“Jasmine” is music-making of quite different scale and intention. Much has changed in the music of both men in the interim, but not the quality of their commitment to it. Amongst other endeavours, Jarrett and Haden have each, separately, given renewed attention to the music of the Great American Songbook, Jarrett in his widely-admired “Standards” project with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, for instance, and Haden with his Quartet West.
Early in 2007 Jarrett was invited to contribute some reminiscences to a film documentary about Haden (Reto Caduff’s “Rambling Boy”). This led to some informal playing together, which both enjoyed greatly. Jarrett then invited Haden to come over to his home for four days of recording in March 2007
Keith Jarrett (from the liner notes): “This recording was done in my small studio. So it is direct and straightforward. I chose to use the American Steinway that really isn’t at all in the best of shape, yet I have this strange connection with it, and it is better for a kind of informality and slight funkiness that was going to work with the music. With a choice of songs this good, it was hard not to become engaged right away. We did not rehearse per se, but went over chords when necessary. … Over close to three years we lived with these tapes, talked a lot about them, disputed over choices, but eventually I found Charlie to be the most remarkable and sensitive helper in getting this finally assembled. I wanted only the distilled essence of what we had, and it took some time to wean ourselves from going for hip solos or unevenly played tunes (even though they had wonderful things inside them). This is spontaneous music made on the spot without any preparation save our dedication throughout our lives that we won’t accept a substitute. These are great love songs played by players who are trying, mostly, to keep the message intact. I hope you can hear it the way we did.”

Track Listing:

1. For All We Know (J. Fred Coots / Samuel M. Lewis) 9:49

2. Where Can I Go Without You (Peggy Lee / Victor Young) 9:24

3. No Moon at All (Redd Evans / David A. Mann) 4:41

4. One Day I’ll Fly Away (Will Jennings / Joe Sample) 4:18

5. Intro/I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life (Cy Coleman / Joseph McCarthy) 12:11

6. Body and Soul (Frank Eyton / Johnny Green / Edward Heyman / Robert Sour) 11:12

(Keith Jarrett Grammy Nominee for Best Improvised Jazz Solo 2011)

7. Goodbye (Gordon Jenkins) 8:03

8. Don’t Ever Leave Me (Oscar Hammerstein II / Jerome Kern) 3:11


Keith Jarrett: piano

Charlie Haden: double-bass

Recorded March, 2007 at Cavelight Studio

Producer: Keith Jarrett

Executive-Producer: Manfred Eicher

Mastered by Christoph Stickel, Manfred Eicher

Photography by Rose Anne Jarrett

Cover: Mayo Bucher

Design: Sascha Kleis


Keith Jarrett knows how to keep a secret. For three years he kept his own counsel and that of Charlie Haden’s, about Jasmine which they recorded in Jarrett’s home studio Cavelight.

Coming out to coincide with Jarrett’s 65th birthday earlier this year the reunion after 31 years follows the extraordinary success Jarrett achieved solo with the sublime solo double album Testament – Paris / London, last year’s Jazzwise Album of the Year.

Jasmine, by contrast, is ostensibly an album of eight love songs opening with a stately ‘For All We Know’ with Haden’s tempo a marvel. It’s also, if you like, a shyer more approachable Jarrett who plays along democratically with the bass seemingly without a care in the world, even singing along later a little less nasally than usual.

‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’ usually identified with Randy Crawford is the biggest song selection surprise but as Jarrett explained to Stuart Nicholson in June’s edition the spur to record it came from another source, via Nicole Kidman’s interpretation of the song on the Baz Luhrmann-directed 2001 film Moulin Rouge.

“It was one of my secret weapons. When I heard Nicole Kidman sing it I thought the song was beautiful, I thought here’s a song we should try. I was sure Charlie probably didn’t know the song, he probably knew most of them but that one I was thinking he may not have heard, which was true. I had to revise the version, the actual version in Moulin Rouge has a big orchestra, a big production, and I had to find a way to make it intimate and dramatic at the same time, so the little turnaround which gets us to the beginning of the song is not really there in the original, and of course there’s no orchestral interlude, and I tried to make the build up shorter so that it didn’t crest until you got through the piece.”

Like his take on ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’ Jasmine is a pared-down album throughout with minimal fuss and an emphasis on the art of the song from two of the finest and most influential jazz instrumentalists in jazz history. In a world desperately and constantly distracted, Jasmine keeps its gaze firmly on what matters during its every note.

Stephen Graham (Jazzwise)