Is Keith Jarrett really Arrogant?

by: Michelle Inherst

keith jarret arrogant
courtesy of: https://www.keithjarrett.org/photos/

 “Keith Jarrett is an American pianist and composer known for his wild and melodic improvisational jazz performances.” (A & E Television Networks/ The Biography. Com Website) He introduced a new appreciation of the solo jazz performance in concert. In doing so, Jarrett, as a pianist, put a new spin on jazz music. Jarrett performed many different styles of music during his career. As a pioneer in classical and jazz, Keith Jarrett has recorded over eighty albums.

     Born May 8, 1945 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Keith Jarrett was the eldest of five boys. His mom encouraged him to pursue his musical education during his childhood. He started playing piano at the age of three.  He began studying classical the age of eight and by fifteen he was learning formal composition. While in his teens, Jarrett studied for a short time at Berklee College of Music. He travelled to Paris with the intention of furthering his musical education before moving to New York to become a jazz musician.

     In concert and off stage, Jarrett can come across as borderline self confident and arrogant. In reality, he is a no nonsense kind of person who, at times, can be difficult. In an interview with New York Times Magazine writer Andrew Solomon, Jarrett was quoted as stating that he was “proud to be difficult.” At times he has walked off the stage during a performance because concertgoers crinkled their cough drop wrappers and has yelled at others for walking in late. He refused to do a concert in South America one times because his specifications for a piano were not met. Others times, Jarrett refused appeals for an encore.

     Jarrett was not always difficult. When backstage before a concert, he cleared his mind so he was not distracted while performing. Onstage, Jarrett was focused and contemplative. He looked to his audience for encouragement and understanding. Jarrett never knew until he sat at the piano what songs he would play. When he made mistakes, he saw them as creative. While performing, he was very energetic and sometimes unpredictable. He was known to stand up, stomp his feet, throw his head back and slap the top of the piano. His concerts were spontaneous, making them a different kind of experience.

The Madness of Keith Jarrett