Album: Keith Jarrett

Somewhere Before, WARNER JAZZ

More fascinating than enjoyable, this compilation of genius pianist Jarrett's Atlantic recordings from 1968 to 1975 can be read as a summary of the state of US jazz at the time (a state he effectively removed himself from in subsequent work for ECM). While Jarrett is barely out of his teens, these early recordings seem trapped between decadence-stage bebop, faltering funky fusion and mannered free jazz, making his escape into ecstatic lyricism entirely understandable. Yet there is some fabulous music here, especially from "The Mourning of a Star" and "Birth" with Dewey Redman.