Picks and Pans Review: Dark Intervals

updated 01/30/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/30/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

Keith Jarrett

Maybe Japanese cuisine doesn't agree with Jarrett. Dyspepsia might be one explanation for this album of brooding solo piano pieces, recorded live in April 1987 at Suntory Hall in Tokyo. There isn't the same sweep, structure or melodic gospel-pop leavening in these improvisations as there has been on previous Jarrett collections. Some selections, like Parallels, seem little more than stretches of artful noodling. Opening, the album's longest piece at nearly 13 minutes, starts off suggesting the mood of a sad walk through a forest late on an autumn afternoon. The mood, however, grows increasingly dour until Jarrett begins to sound like one of those theater pianists of the silent-film era, thundering an accompaniment to a particularly dire installment of The Perils of Pauline. Despite the album's solemnity, there are moments of beauty, as on the stately Hymn and Invocation. These are the moments that encourage repeated listening to Dark Intervals, an album that is more haunted than haunting.(ECM)

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