Review: Like many veteran jazz artists, American pianist Keith Jarrett has amassed a vast discography. The 92 solo and collaborative albums he's notched up since 1968 cover many styles of jazz, making it tricky for newcomers to know where to start. We'd suggest beginning with this 1999 album, which is as pure as you'll get. Made up entirely of solo piano pieces - mostly covers, with a sprinkling of Jarrett's own compositions - "The Melody At Night With You" not only offers a brilliant introduction to Jarrett's trademark playing style, but also the breadth of material he's covered. More importantly, the whole collection is hugely entertaining and enjoyable, with Jarrett putting his own twist on everything from Duke Ellington classics and Oscar Hammerstein show tunes, to Gershwin ballads and traditional favourites.
Review: The latest album on Manfred Eicher's mighty ECM Records imprint comes from Jakob Bro, a Danish jazz guitarist who has been releasing a mixture of beautiful, inspired and thought-provoking music since 2005. On "Bay of Rainbows", he's joined by double bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Joey Baron, though it's his layered electric guitar work - part Pat Metheny, part Jonny Nash - that catches the ear. As with many ECM releases, the material on offer here is not standard "jazz", instead twisting the form into new shapes equally inspired by ambient and experimental electronica (see the backwards solos and freestyle drumming of "Dug"). While the album is evocative and entertaining throughout, the focal point is undoubtedly closing cut "Mild (Variation)", an 11-minute ambient jazz epic that's breathtakingly beautiful.