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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…


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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