Keith Jarrett is disgraced in Paris
July 11, 2014 by norman lebrecht
The jazz pianist is averse to coughing.
He has taken to walking out when anyone in the audience expectorates.
Last weekend, he walked out at the Salle Pleyel.
The German cabaret artist and children’s author Felix Janosa was so dismayed he voiced his disgust on his Facebook page:
Gestern Abend war was los, nämlich Keith Jarrett im Salle de Pleyel zu Paris, auch ich samt lieber Frau unter den Zuschauern im ausverkauften Haus. Nach den üblichen Ermahnungen, die man wegen kleinerer Huster von Jarrett erwartet hatte und insgesamt sechs vollständigen und zwei abgebrochenen Improvisationen in der ersten Hälfte, fing die zweite Hälfte in deutlich gesteigerter Form an: Auf eine Schostakowitsch-hafte Toccata folgte ein überzeugender Jarrett-Gospel und als drittes eine sehr schöne Ballade. Als jedoch Jarrett sich beim vierten Stück (Jarrett-Standard-Ostinato
Yesterday evening something was out of whack. Namely, Keith Jarrett at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, where my dear wife and I were in the audience of a sold-out house. After the customary admonitions about coughing that we’ve come to expect from Jarrett, and a total of six complete improvisations as well as two interrupted ones in the first half, the second half began in markedly elevated fashion: a Shostakovich-ian toccata, followed by a convincing Jarrett gospel number, and then a very beautiful ballade. But during the fourth piece (a standard Jarrett-ostinato), when Jarrett again felt he had been distracted by a VERY small cough, he left the hall in a snit after some back and forth with fans and “disruptors.” Even ten minutes of sustained clapping could not convince the shrinking violet to bring the concert to a fitting conclusion. The master then came out again, but only to say to the disappointed fans, “I have no more music in me.” Jarrett departed to the accompaniment of catcalls and real disappointment from many hardcore Jarrett-fans, my humble self included.
UPATE: Some readers have asked why we thought Jarrett was disgraced. What else do you call an artist who walks out on people who paid to hear him play? If Myra Hess could play through the London Blitz, Mr Spoiled Jarrett can override a little cough.
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