Keith Jarret Solo concerts - Koln! - Manfred Eicher and Neumann U-67s
Keith Jarrett stops time for me.
A 'next level' genius.
I'm also fascinated by the little dwarf looking man, Manfred Eicher who seems to be responsible for the mics and placement? However, is another ECM engineer who also assists?
Does anyone have any info on this topic? Wiki says it was only 2 Neuman U-67's... but I remember a picture of the Koln piano just BRISTLING with mic stands... but I could be mistaken.
Some wiki lore related to Koln recording...
At Jarrett's request, Brandes had selected a Bösendorfer 290 Imperial concert grand piano for the performance. However, there was some confusion by the opera house staff and instead they found another Bösendorfer piano backstage - a much smaller baby grand - and assuming it was the one requested placed it on the stage. Unfortunately, the error was discovered too late for the correct Bösendorfer to be delivered to the venue in time for the evening's concert. The piano they had was intended for rehearsals only and was in poor condition and required several hours of tuning and adjusting to make it playable. The instrument was tinny and thin in the upper registers and weak in the bass register, and the pedals did not work properly. Consequently, Jarrett often used ostinatos and rolling left-hand rhythmic figures during his Köln performance to give the effect of stronger bass notes, and concentrated his playing in the middle portion of the keyboard. ECM Records producer Manfred Eicher later said: "Probably [Jarrett] played it the way he did because it was not a good piano. Because he could not fall in love with the sound of it, he found another way to get the most out of it."
Martin Wieland engineered. Eicher doesn't engineer. He is apparently an excellent bassist. I saw an interview with him live in Berlin and he and Keith Jarrett do not have a written contract; their entire contractual connection is based upon a handshake that occurred many years ago.
I would recommend that you listen to the trio if you haven't. Many spectacular recordings there as well. Many like to shit on Jarrett: he has created his own genre, so I tend to discount the critics.
Jarrett is an amazing musician. I've walked out of two of his shows, both because he basically refused to play, preferring instead to berate the audience, on one occasion for being "Canadian" and the other for being "Not European" Apparently European audiences sit perfectly still and are immune to colds.
Pretty dumb. The second show, the many dozens of walk-outs were refunded the rather steep ticket price. Not me. I was comped.
The Köln Concert album was a major favorite of mine.
Also, Paul Motian was the drummer and I was really disappointed not to be able to watch him play.
I'm not sure if that's why people make bm on him. But I'll never attend another of his concerts.
I've heard that about Jarrett... Classic! And the photo I saw of the old dwarfish looking German man by the piano... I no longer believe was the producer Manfred Eicher. He looks rather young still.
I've never seen Keith live, although I've devoured youtube footage... all the way from his time with Miles Davis...also the few solo improv videos available... and lot's of viewing and listening to his trio's... particularly the most recent with Jack Dejohnette... and I've put 100's of hrs into his recorded solo improvs... including the 6 city Japan run.... all the europe stuff.
For me it's his ability to go any direction... with all the classical chops and the jazz chops mixed... it's just... and that left hand! (His ability to have BOTH hands doing impossible things at the same time)... and also importantly..... the SOUND of those pianos and recordings.
I have heard Kieth actually bend a piano note... which is not really possible.
I have heard him create harmonic resonances in the piano that sound like they could possibly escape completely and start their own universe.
But that's just my 2 ears.
(Drummers side note on Dejohnette - he said "if the tempos moving fast and it's an odd time like 5 or 7 or 13... rather then bother counting it, I just go, ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE! ONE!...
and I never lose the one that way...)
Speaking of the Bosendorfer, I recorded Oscar Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar was playing a 12' Bosendorfer. He was just having a ball with the bottom octave stuff. It sounded like thunder at times and ray guns at other times. Just incredible.
" I've walked out of two of his shows, both because he basically refused
to play, preferring instead to berate the audience."
could be understandable.
Rubenstein used to say, that "everywhere in the world when someone gets
ill, they go to a hospital, or take to their bed to get better.
Tel Aviv, when someone gets ill, they come to my Concerts and cough all the way
Peterson was a very tall man.
12' Bosendorfer ?
Ha, ha, Your right! What was I thinking. Sorry.
OscarPeterson was a very tall man.
But a12' Bosendorfer ?
I KNOW how Bill did that. The big ones SEEM like 12ft! They also sound like they are 12 ft big.
In my college there was a 9'6'' Bosendorfer Concert Grand in the exceptionally well designed recital hall. FANTASTIC ACOUSTICS with electronic curtains for damping or vice versa.
This piano was OFF limits for regular jamming or recording.
This of course did NOT stop ME.
My trick... stash my microphone case under stage curtain during class...
Return to Com. building at 9pm... tell security guard 'my backpack is in the recital hall... will you unlock it so I can grab it? He would unlock... then leave back to station. I learned how to DUCT TAPE the door jam so it would shut, but NOT re-lock.
I would then carefully shut the heavy door... walk back past the security guy with a joke and a thanks,,, aim for the exit,,, and then run up the stairs and hide in a rehearsal room... until Security locked down the whole building and went home.
I would then have ALL NIGHT in a perfect room with a perfect piano... not to mention "Media Loan" where you could check out dif. microphones. I remember becoming a fan of a pair of Sennheiser 421's on that piano. And I would get fully lost in the sounds that beast could make.To this day... that piano is the size of Texas to me. And I even recall telling someone... "I used to play on an 18 ft Bosendorfer..." So I got Bill beat by 6ft on that one! Gos knows they can SOUND like they are HUGE!
" This of course did NOT stop ME."
opinion, would you say.
are person, whose words.
Can be reliably
trusted as true and honest?
even recall telling someone... "I used to play on an 18 ft
" remember becoming a fan of a pair of Sennheiser 421's on that piano."
cooling the mic's?
this a courageously innovative choice?
roll off on the low frequencies, attract you to the 421's sound?
early roll off of the higher frequencies, that prevent many of the Concert
Piano's, Harmonic Overtones being captured, interfering with the Sound?
Or both simultaneously?
"they can SOUND like they are HUGE!"
done 'Huge' a great deal.
nothing more than a wave of the hand.
would not have occurred to me to use a Bosendorfer Piano in such a context.
I know a
little about Piano's, and in my experience Bosendorfers are overwhelmingly designed,
built and regulated to create a sound that is predominantly Beautiful in Tone.
other hand, there are Manufacturers like Steinway, for instance. Whose Concert Instruments, to my ears at least,
appear to be designed, built and regulated with the fundemental intention of Projecting
is possible to design, build and regulate a Concert Grand to provide by the
Players Touch, the widest possible range of Tonalities; but there are limits to
what can be achieved via a Single Instrument, and at a certain point the
Instruments Form, must follow its expected Function.
you really have to Project an Instruments Volume of Tone through the Sound of an Orchestra, then you
need one specifically designed, built and regulated to achieve that task.
requires an Instrument Capable of Projecting a Huge Volume of Tone.
that I would never once in my Life have chosen a Bosendorfer.
better for other types of more delicate and sensitive Music.
of the reason the Company was bought out.
Works, lend towards Steinways.
they cut through better.
on that one!"
could buy a very good Grand Piano 6 ft Long.
would find that for many Orchestral Works.
Volume of Tone from The String Length insufficient.
why you need the extra size of a Concert Instrument.
Strings, equate to Creating & Projecting, Volume of Tone.
only part of the story of what gives a Piano its type of Sound.
Triangle or a single Tambourine is capable of cutting through a Symphony Orchestra
Playing Tutti at FFF.
the fundamentals of design and manufacture regarding the Instruments Tonality, that create this ability
to Project Huge Volumes of Tone.
Good Luck with all your Musical Adventures.
Quote:" remember becoming a fan of a pair of Sennheiser 421's on that piano."
You werecooling the mic's?
Or wasthis a courageously innovative choice?
Did theroll off on the low frequencies, attract you to the 421's sound?
Or theearly roll off of the higher frequencies, that prevent many of the ConcertPiano's, Harmonic Overtones being captured, interfering with the Sound?
Or both simultaneously?
P... I was 18/19 at the time... new to "pro recording techniques" and full of my own wild experiments.
I lost some credits along the way for being "too experimental" and not keeping accurate notes.
I recall though... of all the mics available from the media loan... those 2 sennheisers did something magical. I doubt I touched the roll off... as I didn't know what it did at the time.
Actually... as far as renegade experiments go...not much has changed along my route. For better or worse. But...
I have never played a more beautiful and rich sounding piano in my life. And may never again.
I have never used a 421 on a piano, but given the breadth of the pattern on a 421, if it were the mic that was available, as Nic has suggested, I imagine I could get a good sound on piano with a pair. Of course the piano would have to be 12 feet long!
I played the biggest Bosendorfer, and it is hard to believe it was any less than 14 feet, just from the feel and sound.
Of course it had to be 9' 6", and it had 97 keys!
" it had 97 keys!"
just to open the lid?
you are very hot on Security!
enough already, unless you are making A New Music.
"I have never played a more beautiful and rich sounding piano in my life."
put, and as you were enjoying the sound
and touch so much it encouraged and made you WANT TO PLAY.
like finding a Girl, you know you would be happy, to spend every day of your life
to the Instruments Emotionally, it becomes a Vehicle for Expression.
Cars are like that, you simply WANT to Drive Them.
others simply get you from A to B.
post some pictures.
"I was 18/19 at the time... new to "pro recording techniques"
and full of my own wild experiments."
was young, I was 'Heaven Blessed' to be able to work and rub shoulders with the
MOST Successful and Highly Paid Artists in the World, and their support Teams of Musicians and Engineers.
my mouth shut, made myself positively useful to them in every way possible, and
like a sponge spent every moment carefully listening to what they said and observing
everything they did.
the best possible way to do everything that had to be done, simply by working
with and rubbing shoulders directly with 'The Greats.'
It was a
fast lane to knowledge and experience, whilst I pursued my Musical Career.
sprang from a sound knowledge of basics and fundamentals, although I feel that
perhaps what you call Experimentation, I would call Creativity.
and Engineers in those days were "Incredibly Creative" as a normal
state of being.
absorbed that creative approach as part
and parcel of my education.
"those 2 sennheisers did something magical."
It is a
staple of any Studios Collection.
opinion it's an underrated mic by many people.
not alone in not really knowing how to use it, I have noted many don't.
(An English Guitarist) used them for vocals at his Bangladesh Concerts so have
many other Top Performers. Al Schmitt (A Quality American Engineer) likes them
on Tom Toms and Percussion.
experience of them was when I had to play Acoustic Lead Guitar on a Dreadnought,
on a hauntingly beautiful piece, sang by a wonderful female singer, sadly no
longer with us.
Engineer placed a KM 84 angled towards the fingerboard side of the sound hole
and a 421 closely parallel and directly in towards the bridge/tailpiece. They were used as a stereo spread and gave a
full, thick, clear tone with strong bell like harmonics.
effect seemed very distinctive, coupled with the particular Guitar I used,
which had been especially imported into the country for me by special order,
(no one else seemed to have them at that time at all) and the special New Type
of String they were strung with, that had a better sound, (again, no one else
was using this New Type of String at that time).
Guitarists and Engineers can be extremely conservative by their inherent
good rule to follow (and something Trevor Horn also likes to do if he can) is
get the Best Sounding Gear, The Newest Ideas that are around, but only if they
have Killer Sound.
But get and
use those Sounds, way before, anyone else gets a chance to.
trends, rather than follow them.
421's have a progressive 5 stage roll off for the Bass.
you struggle to get a great Piano Sound what you can do is this.
have great Sounding E.Q. simply having it in the Chain can lift the quality of
A good way
to start is by having a good E.Q. set flat all the way along, until you come to
point of 100Hz.
Hz slowly and gradually set a very, very gentle, and natural sounding, roll off
curve, all the way down to DC.
adds Clarity in the Bass end of the Piano, where things otherwise might start
of sound confused, heavy and muddy rather than Rich.
Play a Concert Grand with your ears so directly close to the Strings, that Bass
is Rich and Full but it's also extremely Clear Sounding indeed.
with give you that type of effect, and it's a good place from which to start,
It wouldn't have occurred to me to think of this, but the 421's Roll off may give
way, many Percussion Instruments by their inherent nature, give off an excess
of harmonic overtones, some way beyond
100 kHz, and yes I do mean kHz.
why, as I wrote earlier, the Tonality of some are able to cut right through the
sound of a Full Orchestra, but we don't always want that degree of sharpness, do
a mic with a more limited than is common frequency response, that curbs the
excessive edginess of the sound, but capture the inherent fullness of sound of
the Instruments 'body of sound'.
an Ideal Solution.
who the Great Engineers are, and learn all you can about their techniques, and
why they do things, and what they use to do this and that with, and most importantly,
the reason why.
the questions, that can be asked in life. Like Who, What, Where, When.
important of all is to ask and know is WHY!
Luck with your Music.
Quote:" it had 97 keys!"And thisjust to open the lid?Presumably you are very hot on Security!88 isenough already, unless you are making A New Music.
Not sure if you're entirely serious or not, but the Bosendorfer Imperial Grand HAS an extra helping of keys in the low end...
...and they're all black too.
I always thought that I could see each oscillation of the bottom string when struck hard.
PS Bosendorfers are the only pianos that could stand up to the abuse that Liszt used to put them through. The allegation is that Liszt never broke a string or key on one.
I love Bosendorfer - and as I tend to be more reflective in my piano playing style anyway, get easily immersed in them.
My jazz piano finals (1993) at music college were delayed as I was on tour with The Pretty Things, but my then head of school - Charles Rae - organised it for me to practice at their Vienna showroom.
It was one with the extra octave in the low end, but was in a really interesting room if I recall. This room was only a little larger than the piano itself, but had an incredibly high ceiling with an inverted 'cone' coming back down toward the piano. It sounded lovely.
Quote:" This of course did NOT stop ME."
With theutmost respect.
In youropinion, would you say.
That you,are person, whose words.
Can be reliablytrusted as true and honest?
Good Luck with all your Musical Adventures.
Peter... I'm generally reliable with the best intent... unless I skip my meds as Terry noted.
And perhaps I did too many drugs in the 60's.
Peter's distinction between Steinways and Bosendorfers exactly matches my experience.
I love playing Bosendorfers - I know of only one in a studio in LA and it's not a full-sized one (not the 9'6" one with the weird keys at the bottom). I can't leave it alone when I'm on a session there, but it is so responsive that the players I've recorded on it need a few minutes to adjust.
Mr. Jarrett might have had a point with the coughing etc if he had deigned to begin playing.
But he hadn't yet.
There were three 6 foot Bosendorfers at the college.
One was definitely special. I particularly liked it's tone with the una corder pedal. There was just a lovely sense of clarity and depth to its tone.
Getting back to Keith Jarrett - I love his recordings with Jan Erik Kongshaug behind the desk.
I saw him perform at the Royal Festival Hall in 1992.
No doubting his musicianship but his attitude left much to be desired.
They stopped playing halfway through a tune as he was convinced he was being illegally recorded, as he had seen a little red light in the audience.
They refused to continue until security had dealt with it.
Turned out to be a doctor whose pager was on as he was on emergency call - the poor guy was clearly embarrassed.
It really divided the audience and a few people left.
He then proceeded with a diatribe about the worthlessness of the New World Music movement - it took about 20 minutes to resolve!
Strange and uncomfortable experience - but once they were all playing it was exceptional.
Keith Jarrett stops time for me.
I wouldn't dream of walking out of one of his concerts, I don't care how much berating he does. Its transitory, but the music...
Audiences, whether they know it or not, and they usually don't, are privileged to be perceived by him as equal partners in the event.
My personal faves are Solo-Concerts Bremen/Lausanne from 73 and Paris Concert from a few years ago. Although I'm still working my way into the Sun Bear Concerts.
When my daughter was 12, my god-daughter gave me Solo-Concerts on CD and it got a lot of play requests in the car. Shortly after that Jarrett announced a solo show at Disney Hall. I bought us seats in the choir loft positioned so we could watch his hands. It was a transformational event for a 12-year-old pianist. When he came out for his 9th or 10th curtain call I thought her head might explode.
(Re: Bosendorfers - to play around with one of those giant ones is to be amazed that human beings can manufacture something so perfect.
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