The Köln Concert

As I may or may not have men­tioned, I am a piano play­er. I went to Berklee in Boston, I got real­ly scar­i­ly into the jazz thing, and a shifty sketchy time was had by all. But in the process of shifti­ly sketch­ing my way through a weird cat­a­log of music that was start­ing to have an intense and some­what sin­is­ter effect on my life, I was for­tu­nate enough to stum­ble upon a few things that I def­i­nite­ly need­ed to hear…

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One of those things is The Köln Con­cert by Kei­th Jar­rett — 1975.  I was tak­ing a class at Berklee called Con­tem­po­rary Impro­vi­sa­tion, the teacher of that class (who was also my pri­vate les­son instruc­tor for piano) told me to sit down and lis­ten to the whole thing in its entire­ty. I don’t real­ly have an atten­tion span that works that way, that is unless what I’m lis­ten­ing to is absolute­ly and pos­i­tive­ly entranc­ing, hyp­no­tiz­ing and mov­ing as hell… so when I tell you this con­cert was all of those things, I think I’m putting it a bit light­ly.

The first 30 sec­onds were like lis­ten­ing to a friend that I knew very well, for a very long time, talk to me. I had nev­er actu­al­ly heard it before, but some­how it was already inside of my heart… I know that may pos­si­bly be the cheesi­est thing that I have ever said with the inten­tion to be tak­en seri­ous­ly, but I real­ly can­not think of any oth­er way to put it because that’s exact­ly what the expe­ri­ence felt like. Despite the fact that this record­ing was eight years pri­or to my birth, this was for me. Shit, it has to be mine — it owns me in a weird way that no oth­er band or song or musi­cian has before.

I can’t real­ly explain the ratio­nal­i­ty behind this thought, but hav­ing this piece as a part of my life and as some­thing that I use for inspi­ra­tion a lot when I play, makes me a bet­ter per­son on a lev­el high­er than just music. It very well may have actu­al­ly saved my life at one point in time, some­times I still feel like it does that (in a much less lit­er­al way). I need it. Some music you know, some you love, and some you live… and can­not live with­out.

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