On this day in 1975, pianist Keith Jarrett set a new standard for recorded solo jazz performance. The occasion was a performance in Koln, Germany, -- one in a series of live concerts in Europe after a brief stint in the Miles Davis band.
The so-called Koln Concert recording on the ECM label captured Jarrett as a fully mature musician at age 29. This event and others like them, primarily during European tours, were totally improvised. There was no preconceived theme or structure. Jarrett would sit down at the piano with a blank mind and play creative, beautiful music from scratch. These instant compositions lasted for 20 minutes or more. The Koln Concert recording remains a classic, and a necessity for serious jazz recording collections.
Pianist Avery Parrish was born this day in 1917 in Birmingham, Ala. He worked with Erskine Hawkins from the early 1930s until 1941.
Tenor saxophonist Jimmy Forrest was born this day in 1920 in St. Louis. With a big sound and a hard-driving style, he played alongside Charlie Parker in Jay McShann's Kansas City big band in the early 1940s. Forrest's longest musical associations were with Andy Kirk and Count Basie.
Pianist Joe Albany was born this day in 1924 in Atlantic City, N.J. He worked with Benny Carter, Georgie Auld, Boyd Raeburn, Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Charles Mingus at various points in his career. He died in 1988.
Singer Jimmy Scott was born this day in 1925 in Cleveland. The extraordinary balladeer is enjoying a sustained career revival after several decades of inactivity. Scott had his first hit in 1948 with Lionel Hampton's band. It was "Everybody's Somebody's Fool."
Looking at today's hip happenings...
On the New York jazz scene... trumpeter Roy Hargrove's quintet is at the Village Vanguard through Sunday. The Joe Zawinul Syndicate is at the Blue Note through Sunday. There's a guitar spectacular double billing at Iridium this week featuring the Pat Martino band with special guest Joey DeFrancesco plus the Great Guitar Trio of Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden and Frank Vignola. The Bill Charlap trio is at Smoke tonight and Saturday. The Abdul Zahir Batin group is at the Lenox Lounge in Harlem tonight and Saturday.
The Joanne Brackeen quartet featuring Ravi Coltrane is at the Jazz Standard tonight through Sunday. Violinist Regina Carter is at Birdland through Saturday. Jazz at Lincoln Center features drummer Lewis Nash through Saturday in a "Grooves Up Front" concert series in the Kaplan Penthouse. His all-star group includes pianist Renee Rosnes, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, alto saxophonist Steve Wilson, tenor saxophonist Jimmy Greene and bagpiper Paddy Keenan.
Judi Silvano's quartet is at Trumpets in Montclair, N.J., tonight.
The Matthias Lupri Group with Mark Turner is at the Wooster Jazz Society in Danbury, Conn., tonight.
In and around Boston... Sphere with Gary Bartz, Kenny Barron, Buster Williams and Ben Riley is at The Regattabar in Cambridge through Saturday. Charles Lloyd is at Scullers jazz club in Boston through Saturday. Drummer Yoron Israel is at Ryles in Cambridge.
In Philadelphia... pianist Edward Simon's quartet is featured tonight in the Friday night jazz series at the Philly Museum of Art's Great Stair Hall. The Sonny Fortune quartet is at Chris's Jazz Cafe. The Chance Trio is at the Highwire Gallery tonight. Tony Grandberry is at Zanzibar Blue.
"Contrasts" (Old, New, Borrowed and Blue) with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra is at Cuyahoga Community College's West Campus in Cleveland tonight.
In Chicago... the Jazz Institute of Chicago's three-day 25th annual Jazz Fair continues at the Chicago Cultural Center. Judy Roberts is at The Chicago Firehouse. Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues are at the Jazz Showcase through Sunday. Skinny Williams is at Joe's BeBop Cafe and Jazz Emporium. The Kelly Brand trio is at Pete Miller's Steakhouse in suburban Evanston. The King Fleming trio is at Philander's in Oak Park. The Andrew Distel quartet is at Pops for Champagne. Nicole Mitchell and Edward Wilkerson are at the Velvet Lounge.
In New Orleans tonight... the Julia LaShae trio is at the Bombay Club. Earl Brown is at Cafe Sbisa. David Torkanowsky is at Cobalt. New Orleans Street Beat and Jerry and the Jazzmakers are at the Crescent City Brewhouse. The Treme Brass Band is at Donna's. The Big Butt Allstars and the Devin Phillips quartet are at the Funky Butt.
Jim Hlavac is at Giovanni's. Dr. Bone and the Hepcats are at Le Bon Temps Roule. The Ernie Elly Slickshots with Thais Clark are at Palm Court. Leroy Jones leads the band tonight at Preservation Hall. Ellis Marsalis is at Snug Harbor. The New Orleans Jazz Vipers are at the Spotted Cat.
In California... pianist Jacky Terrasson's trio is at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles through Sunday. Trumpeter Noland Shaheed is at Charlie O's in Valley Glen tonight and Saturday with the John Heard trio. The Kristin Korb trio with Gerald Clayton is at Steamer's Jazz Cafe in Fullerton tonight. Chuck Flores is at Spazio in Sherman Oaks. Trumpeter Al Molina's quintet is at Jazz at Pearl's in San Francisco tonight and Saturday. Yoshi's in Oakland features pianist McCoy Tyner tonight as part of his ninth annual two-week residency.
Omar Sosa premieres his work "From Our Mother" for the symphony orchestra at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland tonight. Guest artists include Baro Galarraga, Stephen Kent, Benigno Medina, Hafez Modirzadeh, Jackeline Rago and Michael Spiro. The evening will begin with a pre-concert lecture by Omar Sosa, hosted by Jesse "Chuy" Varela, music director of Bay Area jazz station KCSM.
Poncho Sanchez is at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle through Sunday.