Friday, November 04, 2005

The Melody at Night With You

I turned on the radio when I was out in the car on Wednesday night and caught the last thirty seconds or so of a very beautiful understated version of 'Someone to Watch Over Me' on SmoothFM. When it finished I was surprised to hear that it was by Keith Jarrett, someone to whom I have never paid much attention as I associated him with long complex modern jazz improvisations. Not that I ever heard such a workout, I just can't remember experiencing any 'difficult' music ever without wishing it was impossible.

With Google and the internet it was the work of moments to find that the track was from a solo piano album he made album called, 'The Melody at Night With You'. I couldn't get it on Napster so it is winging its way to me from Amazon.

In Jarrett's Wikipedia entry it says:

In the late 1990s, Jarrett was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and was confined to his home for long periods of time. During this period, he recorded The Melody at Night, With You, a solo piano record consisting of jazz standards presented with very little of the reinterpretation in which he usually engages. The album had originally been a Christmas gift to his wife.

That's a bittersweet but uplifitng story, especially if the music is as good as I am expecting it to be.

A few 'lessons' struck me.

Before the internet, I don't think I would really have had the time or inclination to track the music down. (I remember a traumatic episode at the HMV in Hammermsith when I tried, and failed, to identify Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings by humming the tune to the guy behind the counter, not an experience I - or I imagine he - would be keen to repeat.)

Regardless of corporate hype the internet is bound ultimately to be good for music and artists if not for record companies. The overheads in recording a solo piano album at home and distributing it digitally would be close to zero.

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