Jarrett Scolding

  • With a couple of friends, I go to a Keith Jarrett concert. We take our seats and notice the unorthodox set-up: there is a piano behind us set on a platform among the seats and the stage is empty except for a large stereo system. The show begins informally as Jarrett walks to the piano with scattered applause. He looks about 30 years old despite his current 60+ years and has a very playful attitude as he chats with audience members. I and my friends are laughing a lot at the quite unordinary atmosphere of this show but are really into the novelty of it. Jarrett begins to play an upbeat blues tune and emits his characteristic verbal exclamations over the music along with what can only be described as ecstatic dance before the keyboard. The song is short, afterwhich he walks down to the stage and starts the stereo going. A Pink Floyd song, maybe Shine On You Crazy Diamond begins to play and I laugh aloud at the sheer surreality of the situation. Another audience member nearby, a middle-aged woman in a fur coat, calls an usher over and asks to have me removed for disturbing the show. I protest vehemently citing the informal atmosphere of the show and, in any case, the long tradition of positive verbalization at jazz shows. The woman tries to pull some kind of seniority by saying she's seen Keith Jarrett four times. I smile and tell her I've seen him four times as well (actually I've only seen him twice). She replies, "I meant to say five times." I sigh dramatically and appeal to the bored usher. He says I can stay so I sit back down and enjoy the show.