Play like you think it’s going to be the last time. That’s the only way to play.
– Keith Jarrett
Precisely one week after the atrocities began in Paris we were in the Royal Festival Hall watching Keith Jarrett give one of his most intense and impassioned solo performances. Hunched over the Steinway, his face at times just inches from the keys, the man in the single spotlight and all of us gathered together to hear him play represented everything that the killers seek to destroy – a shared pleasure in music and the freedom to mingle at peace on a Friday night with other human beings from anywhere in the world, of all faiths or none.
Continue reading “Keith Jarrett at the Royal Festival Hall: music can heal”
The love you lost with her skin so fair
Is free with the wind in her butterscotch hair
Her green eyes blew goodbyes
With her head in her hands
and your kiss on the lips of another
Dream Brother with your tears scattered round the world.
Jeff Buckley, recorded live at the Bataclan, Paris, February 11, 1995.
I posted this as a response to reading of the horrific scenes at The Bataclan on Friday night because as soon as I heard of the terrorist attack there I remembered that in my music collection I have an EP of tracks recorded there on 11 February 1995 during a stunning performance by Jeff Buckley acclaimed by a rapturous audience. It’s always had a special meaning for me because I saw him perform a very similar set at the Luxor in Cologne just over a week later, on 20 February 1995.
Now I discover that Aaron Goldstein has posted a similar response to mine on The American Spectator Spectacle blog. This is what he wrote: Continue reading “The Bataclan: Your tears scattered round the world”
This is the third post in which I recall some of the music I’ve enjoyed in 2015 but never got round to writing about. This one is dedicated (with two exceptions) to music recorded on the record label that is, for me, indispensable – ECM. There’s a lot of jazz, examples of the gift of ECM’s guiding spirit Manfred Eicher for bringing together musicians from different contexts to create wonderful sounds, and some of the contemporary music released on the ECM New Series label. Continue reading “The music in my head (part 3): jazz and beyond”
Songwriter, producer and revered New Orleans R&B performer Allen Toussaint has died aged 77 after suffering a heart attack last night after a show in Madrid.
We saw him perform a great show just this summer at Ronnie Scott’s. Continue reading “Allen Toussaint, giant of New Orleans R&B, has died”
In the gilded elegance of the Concert Room in St Georges Hall last week, Ensemble 10/10 led a small but enthusiastic audience on a journey through the aesthetic and political fault lines that shattered 20th century Europe.
As always, Ensemble 10/10 – a splinter group from the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra – was led by Clark Rundell, who always communicates energy and enthusiasm for the pieces on the programme. I like these occasions for Rundell’s concise, informed introductions to each work, and because I get to hear music that is challenging and which I met never otherwise get to hear.
For example, the main event at last week’s concert was to be the world première of Bosnian Voices by Nigel Osborne, unknown to me at that point, whose new work sets to music verses composed by people of all faiths and backgrounds from the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia. Continue reading “Ensemble 10/10 explore Europe’s 20th century fault lines”
‘The world that I knew, it has vanished and gone,’ sang Eliza Carthy during Blood and Roses: The Songs of Ewan MacColl, a special concert at the Liverpool Philharmonic this week that marked the centennial of the songwriter and Communist activist’s birth. It was a marvellous evening of passionate songs of politics and love which caused me to reflect on the significance of MacColl’s songs in our changed times. Continue reading “Blood and Roses: The Songs of Ewan MacColl”
This is the second of three posts which round up some of the music that I’ve enjoyed in 2015 but never got round to writing about. This one discusses music from beyond these shores that I have been listening to in 2015, particularly some fine West African releases. Continue reading “The music in my head (part 2): West Africa and beyond”