Keith Jarrett (born May 8, 1945 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA) is an American pianist and composer. He is considered one of the most important jazz pianists, renowned for his elaborate solo improvisations. He began piano lessons at the age of two and played for the first time on stage at the age of seven. In 1962 he played a self-composed two-hour concert, without the benefit of any prior formal instruction in orchestration or composition.
He began piano lessons at the age of two and played for the first time on stage at the age of seven. In 1962 he played a self-composed two-hour concert, without the benefit of any prior formal instruction in orchestration or composition. After working with a wide variety of musicians, including Chet Baker, Lee Konitz and Art Blakey, he founded his own band in 1968 with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian. In 1971-1976 Dewey Redman (saxophone) joined the group and they played under the name the American Quartet. His work with Miles Davis between 1969 and 1971 gave his career an additional boost and the oportunity to play solo concerts such as the "K?ln Concert" (1975, Cologne, Germany), honoured by Time Magazine as Album of the year.
Since the early 1970s, he has enjoyed a great deal of success, both artistic and commercial, in both classical and jazz music as a group leader and a solo performer. His improvisation technique combines jazz, classical, gospel, blues, and various ethnic-folk musics. He is considered by some, to be the "Bach" of jazz music. This title may have come from his recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations, which, although it received many awards, was not entirely approved by critics.
In the 1990's he suffered CFS (Chronic fatigue syndrome) only to take up the piano again in 1998. He now works in a trio form with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette.
In 2003 he received the "Polar Music Prize"--the alternative Nobel prize for music and in 2004 he received the L?onie Sonning Music Prize.
Jarrett stated in a 2005 TV interview that his music is influenced by the teachings and philosophy of Georges I. Gurdjieff, whom he honoured in "Sacred Hymns" (ECM, 1980). This philosophy informs many of his non-musical beliefs as well.
In 2008, he was inducted into the Down Beat Hall of Fame in the magazine's 73rd Annual Readers' Poll.
In 2010, to coincide with his 65th. birthday he released his first studio album in 12 years - Jasmine. It reunited Jarrett with his old bassist colleague Charlie Haden. The two had not recorded together for over 30 years and hopefully the success of this venture and their obvious enjoyment at playing together will mean more recording of this quality and in this vein in the future.