Though Richie Beirach isn't obscure, he isn't as well-known as he should be. A flexible pianist, Beirach can be quite lyrical on standards, although being cerebral and abstract also comes easy to him. One of the more cerebral, unsentimental albums he recorded in the '90s was Trust, a fine post-bop trio date boasting Dave Holland on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums.
Unlike the other two Keith Jarrett trio recordings from January 1983, this collaboration with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette does not feature standards. The trio performs the 30-minute "Flying" and a 6-minute "Prism," both of them Jarrett originals. "Flying," which has several sections, keeps one's interest througout while the more concise "Prism" has a beautiful melody. It is a nice change to hear Jarrett (who normally plays unaccompanied) interacting with a trio of superb players.
Jack DeJohnette knows how to turn traditions inside out. He can invest light-touch cymbal playing with the feel of pulsing funk. His freer patterns of blast can sound like some of the most refined avant-percussion you've ever heard. Though while DeJohnette is obviously an original, he's not bent on tearing down all the boundaries between jazz sub-genres. His engagement with various aspects of blues and swing flows from an evident reverence for each specific style. Even when pushing his own creative language to new places, DeJohnette manages to keep the inherited forms in view.
A really wonderful early album from drummer Jack DeJohnette – maybe his most obscure record from the time, and maybe one of his best as well! The album's got a very open, spiritual sort of vibe – out one minute, and more soulful the next – as Jack stretches out on drums with a very cool quartet that includes lots of sweet reeds from Bennie Maupin – who plays tenor, bass clarinet, and flute – plus bass from Gary Peacock, and both acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes from Hideo Ichikawa. Tracks are quite long, and very open – handled with the greater freedoms that Columbia Japan was offering musicians at the time – including Peacock.
Up for It marks the 20th anniversary of Keith Jarrett's "Standards Trio," with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, and the group's 17th recording on ECM. (The figure is deceiving because many of these 17 albums have been multi-disc sets.) Up for It also signals a return to the Great American Songbook, after two recordings that were completely improvised, Inside Out and Always Let Me Go.
The “Somewhere” in which the ‘Standards’ trio find themselves is Lucerne, Switzerland with a performance both exploratory and in-the-tradition. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung headlined its review of the show “kontrollierte Ekstase” – controlled ecstasy – an apt metaphor for a set that begins in improvisational “Deep Space” modulates into Miles Davis’ “Solar”, soars through the standards “Stars Fell On Alabama” and “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea” and climaxes with an extended romp through West Side Story, as Bernstein’s “Somewhere” and “Tonight” are bridged by the freely associative Jarrett original “Everywhere”.