La Biennale di Venezia

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Biennale Musica 2018

Keith Jarrett

Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement

Keith Jarrett

An absolute musician, beloved by the public – with over four million recordings of the Köln Concert, considered his seminal work, sold around the world – Keith Jarrett will be awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 62nd International Festival of Contemporary Music of the Biennale di Venezia.

“Unanimously acclaimed as one of the most important pianists in the area of improvisation and jazz music – reads the motivation – Keith Jarrett is an artist who has experimented with extraordinary talent and creativity in various musical genres including classical music, composing scores that are both refined and blistering at the same time. His endless discography bears witness to a boundless art and a unique personality in the field of jazz, with an approach and signature style that are so personal as to make him a universal master in the history of music”.

Biographical Notes

Keith Jarrett (1945, Allentown - USA) began playing the piano at age 3 and classical studies at age 7, then undertook formal composition studies at age 15. In the early 60s, he began playing jazz.

Jarrett toured first in 1965-66 with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, then from 1966–68 with the Charles Lloyd Quartet. He soon led his own trio with Charlie Haden and Paul Motian, which in 1972 expanded to a quartet with the addition of tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman. From 1970–71 Jarrett also became a featured member in Miles Davis’ electric fusion group, playing electric piano and organ, his last stint as a sideman. Thereafter, Jarrett dedicated himself exclusively to performing acoustic music as a solo artist and as a leader.

In 1971, he began an exclusive recording collaboration with ECM Records, the visionary German label headed by producer Manfred Eicher. This collaboration has produced a catalogue of nearly 80 recordings, including 16 groundbreaking improvised solo concert piano recordings.

In the late 1970s, Jarrett was invited to Oslo by Manfred Eicher to record with the three of Scandinavia’s top jazz artists; saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Palle Danielsson and drummer Jon Christensen. This quartet came to be known as Belonging, eventually recording five best selling albums for ECM from 1976-79. In 1983, Jarrett invited bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack Dejohnette to join him for a New York studio recording session of “standards’ - the rich body of American Broadway show and jazz tunes from the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s. The trio disbanded in December 2014 after touring the world for over 30 years performing hundreds of concerts and releasing 20 award winning ECM concert and studio recordings. In March 2018, ECM will release After The Fall, an archival 2 CD live concert recording capturing the trio at their peak performing in November 1998 at NJPAC (New Jersey Performing Arts Center) in Newark.

In 2007, the legendary bassist Charlie Haden joined Jarrett at his home recording studio in rural New Jersey for 4 days - their first musical collaboration in over 30 years, From these 2007 sessions came the two highly acclaimed ECM duo recordings:  Jasmine (released in 2010) and Last Dance (released in Spring 2014, just two months before Haden passed away).

ECM has released several classical recordings with Jarrett performing piano repertoire by Bach, Barber, Bartók, Händel, Mozart, Arvo Pärt and Shostakovich, as well as Bridge of Light featuring his own classical orchestral and chamber music compositions. He has also recorded concerto works by Alan Hohvaness, Peggy Glanville Hicks and Lou Harrison - all conducted by Dennis Russell Davies. Keith Jarrett has garnered many awards worldwide including the Polar Music Prize (Stockholm, 2003) presented by the King of Sweden; Leonie Sonning Music Prize (Copenhagen, 2004); Commandeur de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Paris, 2007) from the French Ministry of Culture; and the National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master Award for lifetime achievement ( New York, 2014).

Biennale Musica
Biennale Musica