Thirty three years after the break-up of Keith Jarrett’s great "American Quartet" , the pianist and bassist Charlie Haden reunited for an album of standards, played with deep feeling. The programme on Jasmine, includes such classic songs as “Body and Soul”, “For All We Know” , “Where Can I Go Without You”, “Don’t Ever Leave Me” and more. Intimate, spontaneous and warm, the album, recorded at Jarrett’s home, has affinities, in its unaffected directness, with his The Melody At Night, With You. Jarrett and Haden play the music and nothing but the music – as only they can.
Early in 2007, Keith Jarrett was invited to contribute some reminiscences to a film documentary about Charlie Haden (Reto Caduff’s "Rambling Boy"). This led to some informal playing together (the first time since the 1976 break-up of the "American Quartet"). A few months later, Jarrett invited Haden to his home studio and they recorded in duo over a four day period in March 2007.
Keith Jarrett (from the liner notes): "This recording was done in my small studio. So it is direct and straightforward. I chose to use the American Steinway that really isn't at all in the best of shape, yet I have this strange connection with it, and it is better for a kind of informality and slight funkiness that was going to work with the music. With a choice of songs this good, it was hard not to become engaged right away. We did not rehearse per se, but went over chords when necessary....Over close to three years we lived with these tapes, talked a lot about them, disputed over choices, but eventually I found Charlie to be the most remarkable and sensitive helper in getting this finally assembled. I wanted only the distilled essence of what we had, and it took some time to wean ourselves from going for hip solos or unevenly played tunes (even though they had wonderful things inside them). This is spontaneous music made on the spot without any preparation save our dedication throughout our lives that we won't accept a substitute. These are great love songs played by players who are trying, mostly, to keep the message intact. I hope you can hear it the way we did."
Jasmine comprises the material they liked best from these sessions. Emphasis is on standards and love songs. Intimate and deeply melodic.
On JazzCorner.com's ECM forum, Steve Lake points out: "In the liner notes KJ points out that Jasmine is a night blooming flower, and apparently much of the intense listening that brought forth this album was also a night-time process. The approximate acoustic closeness of the words "Jasmine" and "jazz men" may also, I guess, have had something to do with it."
As Keith Jarrett says in his liner notes of Jasmine: “This is spontaneous music made on the spot without any preparation save our dedication throughout our lives that we won’t accept a substitute... These are great love songs played by players who are trying, mostly, to keep the message intact.”